It’s no secret that Novak Djokovic has his sights set on the 2023 Australian Open. If he were to triumph for the tenth time at Melbourne Park, the Serbian champion would hook his eternal rival Rafael Nadal at 22 Grand Slams.
The 35-year-old from Belgrade also wants to take revenge after last year’s exclusion, complete with expulsion from the country. In the second half of 2022, Nole proved that he was still the man to beat by winning five titles – including Wimbledon and the ATP Finals – and ending the year in the Top 5.
Djokovic’s 2023 started in the best possible way, having rather easily got rid of Constant Lestienne in the first round of the ATP in Adelaide. Goran Ivanisevic’s protégé has shown that he is already in excellent shape and willing to leave the crumbs to his rivals at the start of the season.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion has always had a special bond with Australia, where he delivered perhaps the best tennis of his entire career. In an interview with ‘L’ Equipe’, Lestienne analyzed his performance against Djokovic.
Lestienne opens up on Djokovic
Constant Lestienne has had a spectacular experience today at ATP Adelaide 1 2023. Facing Novak Djokovic seemed like a utopia just 12 months ago, when the Frenchman was struggling to score points on the Challenger circuit.
Today it became a reality, and despite the defeat, the Frenchman showed his satisfaction in L’Equipe: “It was a great experience, really. It’s not easy to face Djokovic in the first round, but it is true that this is how you really learn It’s going to be a great story to tell my kids.
I’ve never faced a player like that in my career, so I was a little nervous before the game, I didn’t know if I would measure up. I had a good start, after two games I got a break point and I saw Djokovic get angry.
At the time I thought I could win, I really did! Yes, I know it may sound naive, but I believed it. Then I lost the first set 6-3, but It was a good set. I lost the second quickly, I had a drop in intensity and that’s something you can’t afford against these players”
Djokovic dismissed any talk that he was focusing on the events that transpired last year: “There is no reason to focus on — what you focus on, you become. If I focus on the negatives, that’s what I’ll attract, so I don’t want to do that.
I don’t hold a grudge,” Djokovic said. “I am here to play tennis, to enjoy sports, and spread good energy.”