Australian Open

Djokovic ready for war

2014-01-20 09:15
Novak Djokovic (AP Photo)

Melbourne - Defending champion Novak Djokovic said he's ready to go the distance with in-form Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka as they braced for another titanic five-setter at the Australian Open.

The six-time major-winner is the title favourite in Melbourne but even though he holds a 15-2 record over Wawrinka, he was taken to the limit twice by him in last year's majors.

A year ago in Melbourne, Djokovic was close to being eliminated in the fourth round before prevailing 12-10 in the fifth set. At the US Open, he won their semi-final 6-4 in the fifth.

Djokovic, with tennis legend Boris Becker in his camp, is primed for another Wawrinka war with the Swiss eighth seed on an eight-match streak after winning this month's Chennai Open.

"I have to be ready to play another 12-10 in the fifth like last year," Djokovic said, ahead of their quarter-final on Tuesday.

"I know that he's playing the tennis of his life in the last 15 months. He's a top-10 player now. He's established himself in the top level. He has won against some top guys in the big tournaments.

"He's confident. You could feel that mentally when he comes on to the court, he believes in himself more. He can win against the top guys in the later stages of events."

Wawrinka, coached by Swedish 12-time tour-winner Magnus Norman, knows he faces a monumental task to topple the confident Serb, but he has been training with exactly that goal in mind.

"He's an amazing player, especially in the Grand Slams, especially here. He's playing so good," the Swiss said.

"He's really tough to beat. I had five sets against him here last year and five sets at the US Open. But I didn't win. I didn't find the solution to beat him.

"So it's going to be really difficult. But I'm trying every time to improve. I'm practising to play that kind of match, a quarter-final here against one of the best players in the world.

"I will have a chance to try to beat him. That's the most important thing."

Late on Sunday, Wawrinka had to hang tough before beating Spanish seed Tommy Robredo in three sets. He had previously benefited from Andrey Golubev's retirement in the first round and a walkover against Vasek Pospisil in the third.

"For me it's good. I'm fit, I'm ready. I haven't spent too much energy in the first few rounds," he said.

Djokovic, seeking his fifth Australian Open title and fourth in a row, is on an unbeaten 28-match run since the US Open final in New York last September.

The world number two is also into his seventh straight quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open, where he is unbeaten in 25 matches.

Read more on:    novak djokovic  |  tennis

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