Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic losing ‘might be a bit of a relief’ claims former No.2

Novak Djokovic saw his 43-match winning run in Australia come to an end last week, but former Roland Garros finalist Alex Corretja has suggested this may be a blessing in disguise.

Djokovic, who was hampered by a wrist injury, lost to home favourite Alex de Minaur at the United Cup last week in Perth.

This was the Serb’s first defeat down under since he lost to Hyeon Chung in the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open.

However, Corretja told Express Sport that he believes Djokovic is ‘still at the top’, “Definitely he’s still at the top. He’s been showing that he’s been playing the best tennis in the last year, winning so many tournaments. In a way this sort of feeling like, ‘Oh all of sudden he lost one match in Australia.’ Okay, he’s just removed that already.

“There’s not going to be anymore questions in the press conference like, ‘You haven’t lost in Australia since I don’t know how many years ago.’”

Djokovic is a record 10-time champion at the Australian Open and Corretja has backed him as the ‘main favourite’ to claim victory in Melbourne once again.

“This is over, so in a way it might be a little bit of a relief but the important thing is to be healthy,” said the Spaniard. “If he’s healthy and his wrist is 100 percent, definitely he’s going to be the main contender right now. There is no doubt about it.”

Corretja continued, “There are other guys that can do well of course, and they’re doing well. But by the way he played last year, by the tournaments he played in Australia and his desire to become even better than he is, I think it’s giving him the credit to be the main favourite definitely.”

Djokovic has arrived in Melbourne already and is scheduled to play an exhibition match tomorrow, alongside the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari.

Inside the baseline…

It is hard to argue that anyone other than Novak Djokovic is the favourite to win the Australian Open this year, having lost only eight out of his 97 matches at the tournament. The 24-time Grand Slam champion may have suffered recent defeats to the likes of Jannik Sinner and Alex de Minaur, however these were in best-of–three set matches and the only player to beat Djokovic over five sets last year was Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

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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.