After straight set wins today over Top 10 foes, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will meet for a 45th time Thursday night in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
Djokovic and Federer met eight times last season with the Serb taking five including wins in the last two Grand Slam finals. And here we go again in the new year.
“He’s trying lately to come to the net more, kind of shorten up the rallies,” Djokovic said after a relatively easy win over Kei Nishikori. “He definitely has the game for that. He’s got a great variation from the backhand side with the slice, short slice. He’s got great defense, amazing offense. He’s very complete. He puts constant pressure on the opponent. You have to be aware at all times. You got to be tough. You got to be concentrated.
“I think his backhand is better than it was maybe five, six years ago. So, you know, he’s playing some terrific tennis, as I said, on the hard court. This is going to be a big challenge for both of us.”
Federer, who has only lost one set all event, talked about going to the net against good returners like Djokovic.
“In my opinion, Novak and Kei are some of the best returners in the game,” he said. “Also good in defense because they have a very strong left arm on the double-hander, which allows them to flick it really easily, like Murray has as well.”
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