Novak Djokovic makes ominous comments after crushing Australian Open win

Kevin Palmer
A relaxed Novak Djokovic during a match
Novak Djokovic reacts during his tennis match

Novak Djokovic made some comments that will send a shiver of fear through his rivals after a crushing win over Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s record by reaching a 58th grand slam quarter-final in style at the Australian Open and for a period of his last-16 clash against the Frenchman, it looks like he might win all three sets without dropping a game.

Mannarino laughed in his chair as he lost the first two sets without taking a game off Djokovic, who admitted after the match his worries from the start of the tournament are now gone.

Djokovic went into the Australian Open with question marks over a painful wrist and revealed he was feeling unwell during his first couple of matches, but he is moving into another quarter-final offering up these ominous comments.

“The first two sets were the best I have played in a while. The last couple of days have been really good,” Djokovic said.

“It is going in a positive direction health-wise and tennis-wise so I am really pleased with where I am at the moment.

“I think I’ve played really well overall, especially the first two sets. Didn’t really want to give him anything, any presents, from the baseline. Just made him work for his service games.

“On my service games, I think I got at least one or two free points every service game with my serve that served me very well. I think I have 15-plus aces. Whenever I needed to come up with a big serve, I did. Also quite high first-serve percentage.

“Very clean overall performance against always a tricky opponent who plays a kind of a cat-and-mouse type of tennis.

“It’s not the first time that I have this kind of particular circumstance where I start off slower and then I build as the tournament goes on.

“Today was the best day in terms of tennis, the way I felt on the court. I’m really excited to enter the second week.

“Has a very flat backhand, uses his talent and his touch very well, puts you in a very uncomfortable position on the court, makes you work for your shots. Very unorthodox player.”

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Djokovic will now take on Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals, after the American ended the ambitions of last year’s Australian Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Serbian holds a dominant 8-0 winning record against Fritz, but he insists he still has to be cautious facing the big-serving Californian.

“Even though I know the guys, I still have to do my homework because everyone is trying to get better,” added Djokovic as he looked forward to the match against Fritz.

“Especially the guys at the top, they want to move the bar at least for one or two percent, or try different things, maybe, yeah, disguise their flaws in the game and improve them so they’re not as exposed in the certain shots. That’s why.

“I mean, it’s my passion and my love, but it’s also my work and my profession. Of course, along with my coach and team I have to do things on a daily basis to make myself prepared for every opponent.

“Of course, I watch the other men’s matches, the big rivals, how they’re doing, how they’re playing. Of course, we all have an eye on each other. It’s no secret.

“In the evenings when you are kind of winding down, you switch on the TV and you watch some exciting matches. Of course, there’s less and less matches, and you know exactly when they’re played. Of course, you want to tune in and check out a few games or a set or whatever.

“It just depends. Of course, I have a closer look to my section or part of the draw, or my next opponent, than I would maybe the other side.”