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Djokovic on de Minaur Showdown

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Novak Djokovic demolished the Demon Down Under last January.  

World No. 1 Djokovic expects a packed house and plenty of excitement in their United Cup rematch.

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Reigning Australian Open champion Djokovic will face Australian No. 1 Alex de Minaur when Serbia faces host Australia in the United Cup quarterfinals in Perth.

The Grand Slam king shared a simple message for fans: let's get loud.

" A lot of noise I think from both sides, from both cheerleading groups," Djokovic said when asked his expectations. "Of course probably more expectably and logically more Australians. But it's a big arena.

"A lot of people can fit in that area, I think 12,000, 13,000. Hopefully we can see it packed, because it's an exciting tie. I think every match is going to be really good to watch. You're going to get the value for your ticket tomorrow. Hopefully we can, yeah, can experience some great atmosphere, and yeah, let the better team win."

In their lone prior meeting at the 2023 Australian Open, Djokovic muted de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

World No. 12 de Minaur knows it will require nothing short of his best tennis to test the Grand Slam king.

"It's no secret Novak's level, it's incredible, and he's probably the GOAT, if we're honest," de Minaur said. "So he started the year strong. It's going to be obviously extremely tough, but it will be a challenge that I'll be looking forward to to hopefully going out there and show what I can do."

Team Serbia will be on wrist watch as Djokovic took treatment for a sore wrist during his three-set win over Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic. Djokovic said the wrist isn't perfect, but should be good enough when he duels Demon.

"It happened in the warmup today before the match," Djokovic said. "I basically got constant treatment before the match, during the match, after the match, you know, trying to address the issue that I'm facing today in the best possible way.

"I mean, it's not the first time that I have faced these kind of circumstances at such a high level of professional tennis. I know professional sport in general, these things happen. I think it's not a major concern, because I still managed to finish the match and managed to play well, even though I maybe wasn't feeling 100%, but still, you know, it allowed me to finish the match.

"Hopefully I'll have enough time to recover for tomorrow's tie against Australia that is in the afternoon hours, so, you know, more time for us."

Photo credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty