Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:35
REUTERS: After staging a remarkable comeback in 2013, Spanish buccaneer Rafa Nadal has his eye on more grand slam silverware this year and is shaping up as the biggest threat to Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open reign.
While Nadal reasserted his hegemony over Roland Garros with an eighth French Open triumph last year and Roger Federer has won seven Wimbledon crowns, Djokovic has made Melbourne Park his own grand slam banker with four titles in the last five years.
The Serbian last tasted defeat on the banks of the Yarra River almost four years ago and if he can extend his unbeaten run on the blue plexicushion to 28 matches this year, would become the first man in the professional era to take the title five times.
“The Australian Open is definitely my most successful grand slam, my favourite grand slam. I love spending time here,” Djokovic said after being drawn to face world number 90 Lukas Lacko in the opening round on Friday.
“It’s the start of the season and I think most of the players are sharing the same opinion. We love the atmosphere, the easy energy that flows around, and of course the tennis fever.”