Djokovic spies his sev­enth Aussie ti­tle

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT -

NO­VAK DJOKOVIC has no pre­ten­sions to be­ing a su­per spy but the num­ber 007 has got the Aus­tralian Open cham­pion “pumped” ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam.

The 29-year-old Ser­bian joined Roy Emer­son as the most suc­cess­ful men’s cham­pion at the Aus­tralian Open last year when he beat Andy Mur­ray for his sixth ti­tle at Melbourne Park.

Seven, how­ever, has a nice sound to it, the for­mer world No 1 said yes­ter­day.

“007, Why not? Maybe this is the year. Seven in 17. I’m not a nu­merol­o­gist but it sounds good,” a laugh­ing Djokovic, pic­tured, said in an in­ter­view. “In terms of my feel­ings of com­ing to Melbourne, the last five or six years it has been pretty much the same. I am very pumped to do well.”

Do­ing well and Djokovic go hand-in­hand in Melbourne. In re­cent years he has made the blue hard­courts near the cen­tre of the city his own, win­ning the men’s ti­tle five times in the last six years since 2011.

Such has been his dom­i­nance since he won his maiden Grand Slam ti­tle in Aus­tralia in 2008, he has lost just three times at Melbourne Park. All were in the quar­ter-fi­nals, with the 2014 loss com­ing at the hands of even­tual cham­pion Stan Wawrinka.

Ev­ery time he has made the fi­nal, he has won the tour­na­ment. In four of those fi­nals he has beaten cur­rent world No 1 Mur­ray, who he also bet­tered in a scin­til­lat­ing fi­nal in Doha at the week­end. Mur­ray, who was knighted in the New Year, had a phe­nom­e­nal sec­ond half of 2016 that in­cluded clinch­ing his sec­ond Wim­ble­don ti­tle and Olympic gold at Rio as Djokovic’s sea­son dra­mat­i­cally fell off af­ter he beat his ri­val at Roland Gar­ros.

The Bri­ton’s strong form vaulted him to the top of the world rank­ings mean­ing Djokovic is not the top seed at the sea­son-open­ing Grand Slam for the first time since 2014.

“Andy de­serves to be No 1,” Djokovic said. “He had a tremen­dous last six months of 2016. This year we have al­ready played a thrilling match and I am look­ing for­ward to our ri­valry.

“Con­sid­er­ing the me­mories I have and the re­sults in the past I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to be­ing back again. I’m not the only one who is ex­cited but it does give me goose bumps. – Reuters

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