Australian Open Djokovic painless and dangerous

Australian Open: Djokovic painless and dangerous

MELBOURNE, Australia | Novak Djokovic wasn’t worried about his thigh in his fourth-round match at the Australian Open on Monday, and now it’s his next opponents who should be worried if they weren’t already.

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In search of a tenth title in Melbourne that would improve his own record, the Serb says he doesn’t take anything for granted. But he felt no pain in his badly taped left thigh against Australia’s Alex de Minaur, in a game the fourth seed topped 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in 2:06.

One from Minaur – home number 22 – who also felt Djoko might have presented tennis worthy of his best moments on the circuit.

Australian Open: Djokovic painless and dangerous

“I don’t know if I’m close to the best tennis of my career,” the former world No. 1 said at a press conference, but it’s definitely the best I’ve played this year.”

“I was feeling good in terms of my leg movement and mobility, which is good news,” he continued. In the circumstances, it suits me perfectly.

From Minaur, the spectator

Earlier in the fortnight, the 35-year-old legend had said he was concerned about the condition of that famous thigh, which had forced him to cancel certain training sessions ahead of the tournament.

But on Monday, in “his” Rod Laver Arena, where he loves to play in the evenings, it was clear that “Djoker” felt completely free.

Australian Open: Djokovic painless and dangerous

Known for his rather defensive tennis, Alex de Minaur could not do anything against the attacks of the Serb, who is also at this Australian Open in search of a 22nd Major title that would allow him to compete with his great rival, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal to draw level.

It wasn’t 14,820 who witnessed Djokovic’s dominance in that crowded center, but 14,821. Because de Minaur also looked like a spectator, the fourth in the world limited him to nine small winning shots.

Don’t celebrate too soon

And when the tennis demonstration was over, this audience, generally devoted to the cause of their local players, gave a hearty applause for Djoko’s performance. Because if the latter likes to play in Australia, Australians like to see him win.

Several of them asked him for selfies and autographs as they left the court, which the Serb safely accepted for a few minutes.

Australian Open: Djokovic painless and dangerous

“I don’t want to celebrate too quickly,” emphasized Djokovic anyway. I never know how my body will react the next day or the next game.

“But [lundi]”I didn’t feel any pain,” repeated the Serb. That’s a good sign, it means we’re moving in the right direction.”

But even if he seemed to be in very bad shape at times since the start of the tournament, Djokovic still remained the big favorite to lift the trophy next Sunday.

The only champion in the race

And now the fourth favorite in this surprise-filled tournament is the only player still in the running who has already triumphed in a major tournament.

Only one other reached a final: third-seeded Greek Stéfanos Tsitsipas. It was in Roland-Garros two years ago against the Serb, who apparently forgot about this meeting when questioned by journalists about it.

We imagine that when we’ve played 32 Grand Slam finals, the identity of the opponents we beat there eludes us at the end.

“Obviously I’m flattered to be the last player in the tournament to win a major title, but I don’t think it will make much of a difference,” the Serb humbly stated before reaffirming his never-ending ambitions.

“I didn’t think about the title before I started the fortnight,” he recalled. I was just hoping to play the next game. But the meeting [de lundi] Gives me reason to believe I can go all the way.

“In fact, I still believe I can go all the way in terms of tennis. It was the condition of my leg that made me think the opposite.

Nothing is more dangerous than a wounded animal, they say. But a confident Djokovic is even more.

Djoko is expected to meet Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night, Wednesday Eastern Time.