Australian Open

Djokovic wary of Mathieu

2013-01-13 18:27
Novak Djokovic (AP)

Melbourne - Novak Djokovic takes his first steps towards entering the history books on Monday and the two-time defending Australian Open champion is taking nothing for granted in his first round clash.

The world No 1, bidding to become the first man in the professional era to win three successive Australian Open titles, meets France's Paul-Henri Mathieu in the final game of the day session on Rod Laver Arena.

"There is no underestimating him, that's for sure," the Serb said of the 31-year-old right hander, who has won four titles on the ATP Tour.

"Maybe he's lower ranked at this moment but he was a top-20 player. He knows how it feels to play on a big stage."

Mathieu was ranked as high as 12th in the world five years ago but needed surgery on his left knee and missed all of 2011.

He entered 2012 as an unranked player and finished 59th in the world, advancing more than 1 500 places in the rankings and Djokovic was preparing for a battle.

"You just try to take one match at a time, focus on your next opponent, your next challenge," the 25-year-old added.

"I'm going to try to focus from the start."

Local fans will also have plenty to look forward to on the tournament's opening day with sentimental favourite Lleyton Hewitt due to take on eighth-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the first night match on the main centre court.

Hewitt has been dogged by injuries in recent years and is entering the twilight of his career, but showed glimpses of the class that made him the world's best player in winning the invitational Kooyong tournament, beating Juan Martin del Potro in the final.

The 31-year-old, who has a history of titanic five-set battles on Rod Laver Arena, has already laid down a marker for the Tipsarevic match predicting it would go the distance.

"I haven't played him for a few years now," Hewitt said.

"But he's improved a bit in the last couple years obviously to get in the top-10. It's going to be a tough match obviously over five sets.

"I feel like all I can control is my preparation and doing all the right things. I've done absolutely everything in my power. I look forward to the challenge."

Women's second seed Maria Sharapova will open the tournament's proceedings on centre court against fellow Russian Olga Puchkova, while former French Open champion Li Na will meet Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva on Margaret Court Arena, the third showcourt at the sprawling tennis complex.

World No 5 David Ferrer, fresh off his record-equalling Auckland Open title on Saturday, does not get any respite from his trans-Tasman dash when he concludes the day's action on Hisense Arena against Belgium's Olivier Rochus.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  australian open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Anderson ousted in Atlanta

2014-07-25 22:24

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @
    04:00
  • SS4:
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @
    05:00
  • SS5:
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
  • Blitz
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @
    07:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.