Novak Djokovic is eager to get back to his very best as he prepares to win a seventh Australian Open title after a lengthy lay-off with an elbow injury.
The Serbian has been sidelined for the last six months and while he is not back to peak condition just yet, he is becoming more comfortable with each day that passes.
“I’m just glad to be back playing tennis, having an opportunity to compete yet again in the big tournaments. I’ve missed it,” he said at Melbourne Park.
“It hasn’t been 100 percent yet healed. But right now it’s at the level where I can compete, and every day is getting better.”
“Throughout the tournament, I don’t know how it’s going to behave. Even if it’s 100 percent healed, after six months of no competition, you never know how you’re going to react.”
Djokovic went on to say that his spirit has never wavered despite his lengthy absence and still believes he can battle against the very best.
“I still know what I’m capable of, and I believe in my own abilities to win against the best players in the world,” he added.
“I know that if I get myself to the desired level of performance – mental and physical – that I can actually have a good chance to go far in the tournament.
“Now, whether my approach is different to this year’s Australian Open to other previous years, probably yes. It’s different circumstances. But it is exciting. Honestly, it’s a good place to be.”
The 30-year-old has previously said he could still be playing for another 10 years before he retires, and that is the plan as long as he still has the passion for tennis.
“I love this sport, I really do. As I said, I’ve been quite content with my body, mind, spirit so far throughout my career,” he said.
“The fire, passion, and love for the sport still burns inside. I have great support from my family and close ones and people around the world. I do feel young inside, you know.”
Djokovic kicks off his Australian Open campaign against American Donald Young.
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