Eurosport expert Mats Wilander says Novak Djokovic is reaching his best form at a crucial stage of the Australian Open campaign.
But after his first straight sets victory of the tournament, Wilander believes the Serbian is hitting top gear just at the right time yet again.
“We have to read a lot into what happened at the ATP Finals in Torino,” Wilander told the Eurosport Cube, reflecting on November’s tournament.
“I know that Jannik Sinner played an amazing match in the round-robin but that was on Sunday or Monday, early in the week.
“Novak is always at his best towards the end of the week, we are towards the end of the second week. Now he’s going to be at his best towards the end of the second week. It’s just amazing.”
In that tournament, Djokovic went the distance and needed tiebreaks in his two group-stage wins, as well as his defeat against Sinner.
However, once the knockouts rolled around the 36-year-old found another level and steamrolled top-rank rival Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals before getting revenge on Sinner in the final, winning both in straight sets.
Wilander feels that it is no coincidence that Djokovic is repeating the same form in Melbourne, and puts it down to his development over the last decade or so.
“When he was young we didn’t see this fighting spirit, we didn’t see the joy that he has now,” he said. “I don’t know how he does it.
“But he just seems to be soaking everything in, and then he’s still able to win a tiebreaker as comfortably as he does.
“Honestly, I don’t know. The journey is what’s the most interesting. When you see Novak’s journey, he has changed and grown so much in the last 15, 16, 17 years.”
Fellow Eurosport expert Tim Henman chimed in, and believes Djokovic’s latest win sends a message to the rest of the field.
“That’s the freedom that a set and a break lead gives you, when you are that confident, playing so well in familiar surroundings,” he told the Eurosport Cube.
“They look like incredible shots to take on, but they are played with little risk, it doesn’t look like he’s going to miss. It is just showing his full repertoire out there.
“Those first two rounds looked a little bit of a struggle but then you get this statement victory against another seeded player, straight sets you know there are a few messages that have been sent to the rest of the draw and the locker room.”
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