Novak Djokovic is welcome at Australian Open, says tournament director; Russian and Belarusian players can compete too
(CNN) – The last time Djokovic faced a break point in a Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 2009, as a 16-year-old who had not yet won a title before heading to the British capital for a Wimbledon final in which he lost in straight sets.
No such problem this time.
On Monday, the 24-time Grand Slam singles champion returned to the Australian Open as the defending champion and the leading player in the world.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion, Rafa Nadal, has already been confirmed as Djokovic’s opponent and the Australian Open is one of only three official tournaments at which Djokovic will compete in Melbourne.
“The Australian Open is the ideal and one of the few tournaments where both players do not have to play their own game and are not competing in their own game,” Djokovic said in a news conference on Monday in Perth.
“It is also a chance for the two players who will compete on the Australian circuit to play each other and the two best players in the world. That is going to be very nice for them.
“So, I am looking forward to the Australian Open. They could have done the same thing, where they were both playing for the number one positions in the world with Nadal having a major and me coming into the tennis season after Wimbledon winning a major. I think that a lot of good things can come out of playing on the Australian circuit.
“I know how good Novak is and how hard he’s worked and I was watching him in the clay season and I like what I see. I like what I have seen when I saw him on television.
“I think he is ready to be the number one player in the world again.”
Djokovic, a Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, said he has been working with Serbian coach Damir Dzumhur, who coached him in the past.
“I have been working with Damir Dzumhur, with whom I had a great time last year. He’s very kind person and he is helping me a lot. Every day from three o’clock to 6 o’clock when I’m playing I’m in his office. I’m there to have a chat with him