DOHA. — Novak Djokovic will begin the defence of his Australian Open tennis title from January 18 with the ominous warning to flagging rivals that he is in the form of his life.
Speaking after his destruction of Rafael Nadal at the Qatar Open on Saturday – with both players saying afterwards that the Serb played perfect tennis – the world number one said he “expected” to play at the same level at this year’s first Grand Slam.
“I’m hoping that I can actually peak and play as well as I did today in Melbourne,” Djokovic told reporters.
If he does then Australia is in for a treat, even if it is bad news for his competitors.
He beat a hapless Nadal 6-1, 6-2 with a level of tennis rarely seen, even by his 14-times Grand Slam opponent, who described Djokovic’s game as “perfect” and “stratospheric”.
“I know nobody playing tennis like this ever,” said Nadal, which suggested that not even Roger Federer, in his prime, could have matched the Serb.
Among Djokovic’s achievements in the week-long Doha warm-up was the fact that he did not drop a set in five matches, secured a 60th career title and edged ahead of Nadal in their personal rivalry, 24 matches to 23.
But now the world number one turns his attention to Melbourne and the Australian Open, the season’s opening Grand Slam. — AFP.