Good morning! Hello and welcome to coverage from Melbourne of Novak Djokovic’s second round match.
The world No 1 and 10-time champion plays home favourite Alexei Popyrin for a place in the third round and will be hoping to have a smoother performance after being pushed hard by Croatia’s Dino Prizmic on Sunday.
Speaking on commentary for discovery+ and Eurosport, Nick Kyrgios felt the Serbian remains the favourite to win the tournament.
“In best of three, it’s possible [to beat him], best of five it’s a whole different beast,” he said. “You saw the greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, even Andy Murray struggle to have success against Novak on the biggest stages in the world. Do I think there are players that can do it?
“Yes. I think [Carlos] Alcaraz, [Jannik] Sinner, [Daniil] Medvedev, [Alexander] Zverev, there are a bunch of players that can do it but it’s an incredibly tough task. I’m keen to see what the BOAT has to offer and if he can find his feet. I think he is definitely the favourite; I think he can be beaten but I’m going to have to see it.”
Popyrin, currently ranked 43rd in the world, should have the home support today and insists he has the tools to make life tough for Djokovic.
“Going to play against Novak is nothing different than going to play against anybody else on tour,” Popyrin said. “For me it’s the same preparation. For me it’s the same mentality.
“I’m going in there with full confidence. If I don’t go in there with that confidence, there’s no point going in there. So for me it’s no other match. It’s just me playing the World No. 1. It’s just another match for me.
“I don’t think he’s got any weaknesses. He’s physically strong, got really good forehand, really good backhand, solid from the back, amazing serve. Like he is the greatest of all time in our sport, so to get there, you have to have no weaknesses.
“But I have big weapons in my game that I believe can do some damage.”