Arguably the only real, consistent threat to Novak Djokovic the last year has been Roger Federer. And now the Swiss is recovering from knee surgery, leaving Djokovic will little resistance in events like Dubai this year (Federer beat him last year in the final).
So, when asked, Djokovic hopes his chief rival returns to the court quickly.
“I’m not pleased to hear what happened to him,” Djokovic said Monday. “I hope he recovers fast, because we are not used to seeing him injured. He’s very fit, and he plays very well throughout the entire year. He’s very important for our sport. He’s most successful player of this tournament. So for sure the tournament will miss him.
“Again, that doesn’t change much in the way I approach this tournament. I will try to go as far as I can, you know, even with him not playing here.”
Yesterday, Djokovic blew out Tommy Robredo 61, 62 in his first match since winning the Australian Open.
“Obviously playing first match in three weeks, different conditions,” Djokovic said. “But everything went well. You know, very few things went wrong. I was putting constant pressure on his serve. I returned very, very well. Served solid and was aggressive from back of the court. I cannot be happier with this performance.”
Djokovic now meets Malek Jaziri seeking his 700th career match win.
“Every milestone is very special, of course. I wish that I make the 700th win in this tournament, obviously,” he said. “But it’s not going to affect too much my preparation for the next match. It’s not going to change too much the way I approach the next match or this tournament.”
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