Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2024

Novak Djokovic admits he’s ‘still trying to find form’ after battling win

Novak Djokovic has extended his winning run at the Australian Open to 30 matches, but was forced to win in four sets once again today.

Djokovic beat home favourite Alexei Popyrin, 6-3 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3, although the score only tells half the story of the three hour and 11 minute encounter on Rod Laver Arena.

Popyrin was inches away from taking a two-sets-to-one lead, but he was unable to take any of his four set point opportunities and Djokovic capitalised in the subsequent tie-break.

It looked as though Djokovic was struggling with some pain in his wrist and there have been reports that he has been dealing with a cold, so the Serb is hoping for an improvement in his game as the tournament goes on.

“I sincerely hope so. That is what it will take for me to go deep into the tournament,” said Djokovic. “I haven’t been playing the best. Still trying to find the form but as you said in the early rounds you play players with nothing to lose.

The world No.1 continued, “They come out on court to try and play their best tennis and I think both my first and second round opponents were really great quality tennis players and I managed to find a way to win in four. Hopefully I will be able to build on this as the tournament progresses.”

Djokovic will be back on the matchcourt on Friday for his third round, when he will play Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who has beaten both Andy Murray and Gael Monfils in Melbourne this week.

Inside the baseline…

It was definitely not prime Novak Djokovic today, however a lot of credit has to be given to Alexei Popyrin, who played a fantastic match. Had the Australian taken one of his set points from 5-4 40-0 in the third set then there could have been a very different outcome. In the fourth set, Djokovic had a bit of an altercation with a heckler in the crowd, which seemed to help spur him onto the finish line, despite not feeling 100%.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.