ATP Cup success with Serbia took ‘a lot’ of energy ahead of his bid for an eighth Australian Open title, Novak Djokoic has admitted.
Djokovic thrilled the large ex-pat Serbian community in Sydney by guiding his country to the title at the inaugural event, winning six singles matches and two doubles contests.
Leading players try to avoid over-extending themselves too close to a grand slam, with the ATP Cup already claiming its first victim as Australian number one Alex De Minaur was ruled out of his home grand slam with an abdominal injury.
The tournament will at least begin with controversy over air quality seemingly having died down.
In the week, Denis Shapovalov accused the Australian Open of jeopardising players’ health and said he would refuse to play in poor air quality.
A number of players were furious that qualifying matches on Tuesday were not postponed as smoke from the raging wildfires settled on Melbourne, with Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic retiring from her match after a coughing fit.
Tournament organisers have since explained their policy and the acceptable threshold they arrived at after consultation with environmental and medical experts, which was not exceeded on Tuesday.
But levels over the weekend have been acceptable and are expected to improve.