It’s that time of year folks!
Hello and welcome to coverage of the Australian Open, the first grand slam of the year from Melbourne.
After a short off-season and build up, the tennis season is well and truly underway and defending champion Novak Djokovic will kick off the night session against 18-year-old Croatian Dino Prizmic, who won the junior title at last year’s French Open.
The world No 1 is on a 28-match winning streak at Melbourne Park, a 10-time winner of the tournament and once again the man to beat.
“It’s no secret that I verbalise my goals and I say clearly that I want to win every slam that I play in,” said the Serbian.
“It’s no different this year. I’m just hoping I can start the season in a way that I have been starting my seasons, most of my seasons, throughout my career: with a win here in Australia, in Melbourne. My favourite place, no doubt. The court where I’ve done great things and achieved my greatest grand slam results.
“I hope that I’m going to be able to, if not play at the level that I did last year, then be very close to that, because that was one of the best tennis levels that I’ve ever played, here in Australia last year. The season is so long. Grand slams, Olympics, those are the big goals. I have to see how it goes here and think about everything else when it comes around the corner.”
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne with some concerns over his wrist after losing to Alex De Minaur at the United Cup.
But he has been practising this week at Melbourne Park, and said ahead of a first-round clash: “My wrist is good. I had time from the last match against De Minaur in the United Cup to my first match here to recover. I’ve been training well. Practice sessions pain-free so far. It’s all looking good. Let’s see how it goes.”