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Djokovic’s self-belief is high ahead of Adelaide

Novak Djokovic is back in Australia and talked about what he expects from this month of tennis

Novak Djokovic Serbia’s Novak Djokovic practices ahead of the Adelaide International and Australian Open tournaments, at Memorial Drive Tennis Club in Adelaide, Australia, December 29, 2022. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

After his deportation from the country a year ago, Novak Djokovic is back in Australia to try to win the first Grand Slam of the season for the tenth time. Ahead of that, however, the Serbian will kick off his 2023 season in Adelaide, from January 2 to 9.

“The field is super strong. You have Medvedev, Felix, Rublev. You have really, really top guys,” assessed Djokovic.

Holger Rune, Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov, Jack Draper and Andy Murray are also in the mix – and so is one particularly tempting first-round opponent: “You can play Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is title defender, right? That could be fun actually. Playing Thanasi in front of his home fans, could be fun.”

The former world No 1 is looking forward to competition as always, but does not fear it: “I always have faith in myself and belief that I can win every tournament that I play in. I think with the career that I’ve had, I feel like I deserve to have that kind of I guess mental approach.

“Things are obviously different. Lots of young guys on the tour, [there has been] kind of a shift of generations. But [Rafael] Nadal and myself, [we are] still going strong from the older guys.”

In the top 12 of the ATP rankings, only three players are older than 25, Daniil Medvedev (26), Rafael Nadal and Djokovic himself – with the latter two winning 15 of the last 19 Grand Slam tournaments.

Djokovic: Undefeated in Melbourne since 2018

“I know what I need to do in order to compete with them, in order to be one of the contenders for the title here and in Melbourne. The good memories and good history that I have on Australian soil gives me a lot of positive emotions and belief that I can do it again, that I can go far.”

He added: “The goal is to peak in Melbourne. That’s where I want to play my best. I guess at this stage of my career, with all the achievements, every big tournament win is possibility to make more history. Of course, that’s very humbling for me. It’s also a big challenge, but it’s a huge motivation. I don’t lack inspiration and motivation to play my best.”

Djokovic has not lost at the Australian Open since 2018 and his Round of 16 loss to Hyeon Chung.

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