Novak Djokovic winning tenth Australian Open not a dead certainty

Novak Djokovic takes a break

Casper Ruud insists there are plenty of players capable of stopping Novak Djokovic on his march to a tenth Australian Open.

Djokovic stands on the brink of history as he chases a record-extending title in Melbourne.

Ruud believes that the enormity of the milestone might be something that plays on Djokovic’s mind.

“It’s a big number!” Ruud told Eurosport.

“Let’s see how he deals with it because it’s something, to get to 10, I can only imagine and it’s something to actually tie the record of Rafa, so there’s a lot at stake.

“He has not been a guy known for choking, to put it this way, or letting these things get into his head, but I think it’s a different situation chasing a record, and actually setting and tying a record could be different.”

Ruud feels that one of the younger generation of players could just be the one to stop Djokovic’s charge to a 22nd Grand Slam title.

“He is the favourite but there are other players that have the potential to beat him, to win,” he said.

“He has shown himself to be somewhat not human Down Under lately in previous years. But you know, at the end of last year, he did lose a couple of matches – at the Laver Cup he lost to Felix [Auger-Aliassime] and in Bercy, he lost to Holger [Rune].

“He is human as well. We are not all robots, but at times he is the closest that you can get to a robot, I think.

“So let’s see if the younger generation can try to push him a little bit this year because that would be motivating for the younger guys. If you can deal with Novak and play well with him at the Australian Open, it would mean that you’re doing something right.”

Djokovic opens his Australian Open campaign against Spanish journeyman Roberto Carballés Baena with the winner of that match going on to face either Enzo Couacaud or Hugo Dellien.

The first seed Djokovic can face in Melbourne is No 27 Grigor Dimitrov who is a potential third round opponent for the Serb.

Ruud meanwhile, anchors the draw as the No 2 seed and will face Czech Tomas Machac to kick things off in Melbourne.

The Australian Open gets underway on Monday 16 January and will culminate with the men’s singles final on 29 January.

Watch every match from the Australian Open live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport.

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