Djokovic won't buy Nadal's 'underdog' story

BREEZING THROUGH: Djokovic reaching to hit a return to Bedene during their first-round match in Melbourne yesterday. The Serb defeated the Slovenian qualifier 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to join Nadal in the second round.


    Jan 21, 2015

    Djokovic won't buy Nadal's 'underdog' story


    RAFAEL "Rafa" Nadal has been shrugging his shoulders and suggesting he may not be ready mentally or physically to win this year's Australian Open after an injury-riddled 2014, but top seed Novak Djokovic is having none of it.

    "Well, I don't know what his intentions are, how he feels, but he is definitely always one of the top favourites in every tournament that he plays," said Djokovic, who beat Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to join the Spaniard in the second round.

    "There is no question about it. "We always talk prior to the big tournaments, during the first days of the Grand Slams, about who the potential players are for winning the trophy (and) more or less the same names have been going around for the last seven or eight years.

    "So I don't think there is any difference in terms of main favourites for this tournament."

    The 27-year-old Serb is among the favourites for his fifth title at Melbourne Park with his main rivals, Nadal and Roger Federer, suggesting as such, having won his second Wimbledon and fourth ATP Tour Finals title last year.

    Djokovic also holds a 44-6 record on Melbourne Park's hard courts, having reached at least the quarter-finals every year since his first Grand Slam title here in 2008.

    He barely worked up a sweat in his victory over the 25-year-old Bedene and won the match in a shade under two hours, though he was less impressed with his performance.

    "Obviously, the start was a bit slower performance, weaker performance, from my side (and) he had a couple of break points," Djokovic said. "He's a good player, he felt confident (and) he had nothing to lose."

    The Serb, who has been battling illness for much of this month, said he felt the worst of it had passed, and he would be fine to face either Russia's Andrey Kuznetsov or Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the next round.