Novak Djokovic has appeared to aim a dig at his tennis rivals by insisting that his biggest threat for the Australian Open title is none other than himself.
There are plenty of elite players and dark horses looking to stop Djokovic from landing a historic 25th Grand Slam singles title at Melbourne Park.
But the 36-year-old Serbian, who tasted glory at three of the four major tournaments last year, is not worried about the likes of Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev.
Asked to name his biggest threat at Melbourne Park as he attempts to defend his title and lift the trophy for the 11th time, Djokovic said: ‘Myself always first.
‘And then, of course, all the other best players in the world. Any player is here with, I’m sure, the intention to achieve the dream of winning a Grand Slam.’
Djokovic has also provided an update on the wrist injury he has been struggling with ahead of the first major tournament of the year.
‘It’s not as bad as some other injuries I had here – 2021 and last year I had worse injuries that I had to deal with,’ Djokovic added.
‘I can’t predict whether it’s going to come back. Once I start playing more matches, stress levels go higher. I don’t know. We have to find out.’
Meanwhile, world No.2 Alcaraz, who beat Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last year, is hoping for another showdown against his older foe having lost their two most recent meetings at the Cincinnati Open and ATP Finals.
Alcaraz, who is set to play the Australian Open without his long-time coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, said: ‘It’s an extra motivation for me [to play Djokovic].
‘I’m an ambitious guy. Obviously it’s a good test, playing against him in the places or in the tournament that he’s almost unbeaten.
‘I’m looking to reaching the final and hopefully playing a final against him. It would be great, obviously.’
The Australian Open gets started on Sunday with Djokovic and Alcaraz set for first-round battles against Dino Prizmic and Richard Gasquet respectively.