Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic says he’s excited to be back after a long injury-enforced break, admitting he has missed the “fire and passion” of competitive tennis.
The former world number one has been out of action for six months, and while he enjoyed having his first real break since turning professional, he is ready to get back to action.
“I’m just glad to be back playing tennis, having an opportunity to compete yet again in the big tournaments. I’ve missed it,” he said on Saturday at Melbourne Park.
As a result of his long absence, the super Serb slipped down the rankings and has been seeded 14th for the opening Slam of the year. He has, however, warned that his confidence is high and he could still go far.
“I still know what I’m capable of, and I believe in my own abilities to win against the best players in the world,” he said ahead of his opening round clash against American Donald Young.
“I know that if I get myself to the desired level of performance – mental and physical – that I can actually have a good chance to go far in the tournament,” Djokovic said.
The 30-year-old suggested recently that he might still be playing at 40, and he said anything was possible so long as he still enjoyed what he was doing.
“I love this sport, I really do. As I said, I’ve been quite content with my body, mind, spirit so far throughout my career,” he said.
“The fire, passion, and love for the sport still burns inside. I have great support from my family and close ones and people around the world. I do feel young inside, you know.”
Novak Djokovic will look to pull clear off Australia’s Roy Emerson to become the most successful male player in the tournament’s history in terms of singles title won.