Novak sounds warning to rivals


Perth, Australia – World number one Novak Djokovic sounded an ominous, if light-hearted, warning to his Australian Open rivals after suffering a narrow defeat in the Hopman Cup final on Saturday night.

Speaking after he and Ana Ivanovic were beaten by Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco in the mixed teams decider, the defending Australian Open champion was already eyeing his title defence.

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World number one Novak Djokovic sounded an ominous, if light-hearted, warning to his Australian Open rivals.

“I will have my revenge in Melbourne in a week,” Djokovic said with a laugh as he exited Perth Arena in the early hours of Sunday morning.

While the Serbian pair suffered their third near-miss at the Hopman Cup, Djokovic rounded out his Australian Open preparation in fine style, beating former top 10 player Verdasco in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.

That result followed an impeccable performance against Germany's Tommy Haas on Friday, with Djokovic winning 6-2, 6-0.

Although he had a shock loss to young Australian Bernard Tomic earlier in the tournament, Djokovic was pleased with the improvement in his singles form during the Hopman Cup.

The Serbian said his preparation was building nicely as he targets a historic third successive Australian Open title, opting for a third year running to bypass tournament play in the coming week and instead practice in Melbourne.

“I've been trying to play my best tennis and prepare for Melbourne, the last few days I have been striking the ball better,” Djokovic said.

“Last few matches was really good, I'm happy with the way I'm playing and another eight days of really good practice and I'm fit for Australian Open.

“I've been using this kind of preparation routine for few years now.”

Djokovic said playing in Abu Dhabi, where he downed Nicolas Almagro to win the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament, and the Hopman Cup had given him plenty of match time ahead of the year's first Grand Slam, which starts Monday week. – Sapa-AFP

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