Ouch: Novak Djokovic (right) doubles over in pain after being struck on the leg by an advertising sign. Photo: Getty Images
SERBIAN world No. 1 Novak Djokovic escaped injury despite copping the brunt of a falling barrier while signing autographs at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Monday.
Djokovic was in good spirits as he mixed with fans after defeating Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 at the new $550 million Perth Arena. But with numerous people leaning over to get his autograph, the hoarding holding them back toppled over, collecting Djokovic's legs in the process.
Djokovic crouched on the ground in pain after the incident, before limping back to the players' lounge to receive treatment.
However, the 25-year-old was given the all-clear by medical staff and was able to join Ana Ivanovic in the mixed doubles.
The incident capped a turbulent 24 hours for Djokovic, who only arrived in Perth on Sunday night after winning an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
The lengthy flight and the four-hour time difference didn't seem to trouble Djokovic, who always looked in control against Seppi.
''I arrived quite late last night and didn't get a lot of sleep,'' Djokovic told the crowd shortly before he got hit by the toppling barrier.
''I felt like I was dream walking this morning. But as the match went on, I was managing to get my rhythm.''
Earlier, Ivanovic was in dominant touch in her 6-0, 6-4 win over Francesca Schiavone.
With the temperature in Perth nudging past 40C during Djokovic's match, the arena's roof was closed, but the women weren't as lucky, with Ivanovic and Schiavone forced to slug it out in 36C heat.
■World No. 112 Tatjana Malek has replaced Germany's Andrea Petkovic, who was forced out of the mixed-teams tournament with a knee injury.