Novak Djokovic aims to maintain his perfect start to 2023 when he faces Tomas Machac in the ATP Dubai first…
Novak Djokovic aims to maintain his perfect start to 2023 when he faces Tomas Machac in the ATP Dubai first round on Tuesday.
The world number is 12-0 for the calendar year, in which he has already captured titles in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Indeed, the Serb is playing his first tennis since winning a record-extending 10th Australian Open crown as he looks to improve his fitness levels.
Despite nursing a hamstring injury, Djokovic dropped just a single set as he swept all before him to equal Rafael Nadal on 22 Grand Slam triumphs.
The 35-year-old will look to build on that momentum in Dubai, where he is a five-time champion (a tally only bettered by Roger Federer’s eight) having lifted the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2020.
Boasting a 43-7 record, he also arrives celebrating a record-breaking 378th week as world number one for both men and women, surpassing the great Steffi Graf.
The Serb reached the quarter-finals last year before losing to eventual runner-up Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, and that will encourage compatriot Machac as he bids to land a stunning scalp.
Ranked 130th in the ATP, Machac secured his place in the main draw by recovering from a set down to defeat world number 79 Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The 22-year-old, who was a Challenger Tour titlist in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Traralgon last season, reached the quarter-finals in Manama earlier this term.
He also forced second seed Casper Ruud to a fourth set in the opening round of the Australian Open last month, but knows he will have to be quick out of the blocks to stand any chance of upsetting a red-hot Djokovic.
The winner will match will face either Tallon Griekspoor or Constant Lestienne in the ATP Dubai Last 16.
Play gets underway at around 3pm GMT on Tuesday and will be contested over the best of three sets.
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