After booking a much-anticipated semi-final with his Australian Open title usurper Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday, Novak Djokovic wasted little time reminding the Swiss of the heavy burden of being defending champion.
It`s the new order up against the old guard in Wednesday`s men`s quarter-finals at the Australian Open with Kei Nishikori facing defending champion Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic trading shots with Novak Djokovic.
A break-out 2014 season and a career-high ranking of five has added extra weight to Kei Nishikori`s shoulders, with the U.S. Open finalist already bearing the burden of huge expectations in his home country Japan.
Novak Djokovic eased into the fourth round at the Australian Open with a straight sets win over Spain`s Fernando Verdasco on Saturday. The Serb world number one beat the 31st seeded Verdasco 7-6 (10/8), 6-3, 6-4 in 2hr 21min and will play Luxembourg`s Gilles Muller in the next round.
After almost ruling himself out of the Asian Cup by hurting himself playing foot volleyball, Japan`s Shinji Kagawa has turned to tennis for inspiration. As holders Japan prepared to take on Jordan in Melbourne, the Dortmund midfielder said the Blue Samurai would drew power from tennis superstar Kei Nishikori, playing at the Australian Open venue literally just across the road. "To see him competing at the very highest level in the world gives us a lot of strength. Hopefully we will both come away victorious," Kagawa said.
After an eventful last year, one can expect men’s tennis in 2015 to be more entertaining and thrilling. Last season was quite exciting, where on one hand, we found two new Grand Slam champions in Stanislas Wawrinka (Australian Open) and Marin Cilic (US Open), on the other, we witnessed big names like Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray struggling with fitness and form. If, ageing legend of the game, Roger Federer showed signs of resurgence, then, the world number one Novak Djokovic, somehow, couldn’t manage to justify his world number one tag.