Novak Djokovic’s overwhelming level was a memory in Melbourne. This Monday, however, he regained all his validity. The nine-time champion devastated Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 after two hours and seven minutes of play to leave the Australian Open without local hopes, soothe the muscular ailments that weighed down his first week and confirm that his bid for a 10th individual title in the tournament is an absolute reality. “He wanted to win in straight sets,” Djokovic acknowledged. “Obviously, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen on court. The first four or five games were tight. After breaking his serve in the first set, I started to feel looser and hit the ball more aggressively. I think he got a little more nervous at the end of the second [se†] and the start of the third. That was my opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Tennis is a very fast and dynamic sport, things can change in a matter of an instant in just a few points. I kept my concentration until the end and completed my best game of the year so far”. The Rod Laver Arena received the great night game of the day in its best clothes, covering with cheers the only compatriot who reached the round of the 16 stronger. Flags, songs and a festive atmosphere encouraged De Miñaur to face the most difficult challenge of all: stopping the advance of the most successful player ever in the first major of the year. The intentions were great. The result, far from meeting such expectations. Djokovic delivered the first two sets with unstoppable tennis drives, wowing the main stadium with his improved level. After an even start to 2-2, the Serbian caught nine consecutive games to leave the result in the infirmary (6-2, 5-0), opening an insurmountable gap despite the spirit of the Australian.
Djokovic is a five-time champion in Indian Wells
Indian Wells Open organisers are doing “everything” to help Novak Djokovic to compete in the ATP Masters 1000 event in April and tournament director Tommy Haas says it would be shameful if he is prevented from taking part. “If Djokovic stays healthy, I don’t see how he’s not going to be number one. Obviously the one problem being that he still cannot come to the US If he doesn’t play Indian Wells and Miami in March (it will be tough), they’re supposed to lift those mandates by mid-April. It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those a little earlier and have him come to play Indian Wells and Miami. I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance. Hopefully we can have him there. I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”