Melbourne courts a home track for Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic in action Credit: Alamy
Novak Djokovic in action Credit: Alamy

Novak Djokovic is heavily favoured to win the 2023 Australian Open and not without reason.

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander feels that the court might as well be in Djokovic’s backyard for how much it suits his game.

Djokovic has won 25 of his last 26 matches on the ATP Tour meaning he is the clear form player, but history is also in his favour.

“I think Novak is the No. 1 favourite for many, many reasons,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“Obviously one reason is that he’s won the Australian Open nine times. The surface is perfect for him.

“The Australian Open has a history of having players winning it multiple times that are very consistent all the time – and I’m speaking from my own experience as I won there three times.

“When you play the way Novak plays, he doesn’t have ups and downs. Everybody is not 100% ready in Australia. Some are very ready, some are not ready, and he is always somewhat ready. Somewhat ready for him means he’s the favourite. The surface is perfect.”

Djokovic has shown time and again that he has the ability to beat any player on his day and he has now been allowed to play regular tennis again which is an ominous state of affairs for the rest of the field of the Australian Open.

The former World No 1 has lost none of his intimidation factor, unlike his fellow big four members.

Djokovic is aware that he can get into his opponent’s heads and uses that to his benefit.

“I think it gets to the head of your opponents more,” Djokovic said after defeating Sebastian Korda in the Adelaide International 1 Final.

“That’s what I want. I want them to know that regardless of the scoreline, I’m always there, I’m always fighting till the last shot, and I’m able to turn things around. Of course, going into the court with anybody knowing that they know as well what I’m capable of is of course an advantage.”

The vaccination saga has not changed the fact that the courts in Australia and in Melbourne in particular really suit Djokovic down to the ground as evidenced by his nine Australian Open titles.

Djokovic has won his last 34 matches in Australia, and despite being set to be handed the fourth seeding, will be the clear favourite for the first men’s Grand Slam singles title of 2023.

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