Novak lines up Hewitt
An overworked Novak Djokovic admits he's still recovering from a hectic 2010 as he prepares for a Hopman Cup showdown with Australia's Lleyton Hewitt on Tuesday.
An overworked Novak Djokovic admits he’s still recovering from a hectic 2010 as he prepares for a Hopman Cup showdown with Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt on Tuesday.
Djokovic looked shaky early in his singles encounter with Andrey Golubev on Sunday before powering past the Kazakhstan world No.36 4-6 6-3 6-1 in Serbia’s 3-0 tie win.
World No.3 Djokovic spearheaded Serbia’s Davis Cup victory over France last month and said the short off-season had affected his preparation for the Australian summer.
“I’m in the process of preparing for the Australian Open and my main goal is to be 100 per cent fit for that tournament,” Djokovic said.
“I’m aware of the fact that I will not perform as well as I will probably in two weeks’ time because … it was the shortest off-season that I’ve had in my life and this is only a third week of preparation.
“To be well prepared and to perform well on the court you need at least four weeks. I’m working really hard off the court.”
Despite his late finish to 2010, Djokovic said he wouldn’t use it as an excuse when the Australian Open rolled around.
“There were quite a few players who had a similar situation. I think (Rafael) Nadal just last year or two years back, when he won the Davis Cup, had a very short break or no break at all,” Djokovic said.
“I have played the most matches on the tour in 2009, about 100 matches, and it was a very short break then as well.
“That’s the way it is. You try to get the best out of it, try to rest as much as you can … even though it’s less than two weeks which is not enough.
“You get used to it after a while.”
Australia’s pairing of Hewitt and Alicia Molik defeated Belgium in their Hopman Cup opener but will face a far sterner test against Djokovic and former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic.
Hewitt moved freely in his straight sets win over Ruben Bemelmans on Saturday and said he was looking forward to his showdown with Djokovic.
“It’s a good test for me … to play a guy that’s come off playing the tour finals in London and winning the Davis Cup as well,” Hewitt said.
“It’s a good chance for me to go out there and play against the best guys. That’s why I play the game.”
Belgium, featuring world No.12 Justine Henin, will take on Kazakhstan in Tuesday’s other tie.