Novak Djokovic ready to win on 10th Aussie anniversary
Novak Djokovic said Sunday he has shrugged off a stomach bug and has a good chance to win the Australian Open on the 10th anniversary of his Grand Slam debut.
Melbourne: Novak Djokovic said Sunday he has shrugged off a stomach bug and has a good chance to win the Australian Open on the 10th anniversary of his Grand Slam debut.
The Serb world number one finally emerged for his pre-tournament media conference after experiencing a tough few days battling illness but said he was ready to take on first-round qualifier opponent Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday.
Djokovic was scheduled to face the media on Saturday but cancelled, finally appearing late Sunday to talk about his chances of winning a fifth Australian Open.
"I had tough couple days with a little bit of the flu and stomach (bug), but it`s all behind me now. I`m ready for the Open," he said.
Djokovic, who made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open in 2005, losing to eventual champion Marat Safin, said he was confident of winning again in Melbourne.
"Considering the success that I had in my career in this tournament gives me enough reason and confidence to believe I can go far," he said.
"But again I have to start the tournament well. It`s the beginning of the season.
"We already have one of the four biggest tournaments in sport. 120-odd players want to prove that they deserve to be in this tournament, and they have huge motivation to win against the top players.
"It`s something that is obviously keeping us all cautious, and we have to have a right and humble approach to the tournament. So I`ll take it one match at a time."
Djokovic said he had little knowledge of his first-round Slovenian opponent Aljaz Bedene, a qualifier, and was wary of a player with nothing to lose against him.
"I watched him play a little bit in Chennai, I think semi-finals. I`ve seen he`s a baseline player. Good, solid, two-handed backhand," he said.
"Obviously he`s going to be very motivated to perform well. If we get to play on center court, I`m sure it`s going to be a unique experience for him.
"Lower-ranked players, younger players, have nothing to lose. That`s what makes them really dangerous in the opening rounds.
"That`s why I hope I can start with the right intensity, the way I was starting this tournament in previous years. If I do so, I have a good chance to win."
Djokovic remembers his first Grand Slam match with Russian showman Safin when he only won three games in a straight sets exit.
"I remember back in 2005 I qualified for the first time in my career for the Grand Slam, playing Marat Safin that later on was a champion, was quite an experience," Djokovic said.
"I didn`t stay long on the court, but still I was enjoying it very much."