‘ATP Cup not responsible for stuttering Australian Open start,’ says Novak Djokovic after first-round win

Novak Djokovic press conference

Novak Djokovic says that his ATP exertions were not responsible for his stuttering start at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was mostly in control against Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday, but periods of dominance were punctuated by big lapses in concentration against the German.

However, he insists the the ATP Cup, in which Djokovic brilliantly led Serbia to victory, is not to blame.

“Not at all. I don’t feel it to be honest. I was exhausted right after, but I had seven days to recover and I kept my training sessions nice and short and intense, did what I needed to do to maintain the level and I’m pleased,” Djokovic said.

“I’m pleased with the way I played, I’m pleased with the way I feel.

“The great thing about Grand Slams is that you always have a day off in between matches, and it’s not the first time I’m in this situation, so I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”

Djokovic dropped a set in his opening match, which came as something of a surprise, but he says he is actually grateful for the tough test that Struff provided.

“I actually like tough first rounds, in Grand Slams particularly,” Djokovic added.

“Historically I’ve had lots of success in Grand Slams where I had tough opponents in the first round because it gets me going from the beginning.

“I have to be alert, I have to be at a high level, and I think I was.

“Of course you can always play better and I expect myself to be better as the tournament progresses, but it was a good matchup and I’m glad how I overcame the challenge.”

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