Looking through the records I was quite surprised to see that during his career Novak Djokovic has missed just one Grand Slam event since January 2005. The one he missed was the 2017 US Open due to injury.
Novak is about to embark on his 16th consecutive year at Melbourne Park and has won a quite incredible six times in the last nine years.
He heads there this year as undoubtedly in the best form out of the top guys following an unbeaten and ruthless ten days at the ATP Cup but he won’t be number one but this time number two.
The first time was back in 2014, Rafael Nadal that year was likewise the number one seed. Djokovic’ run ended in the quarter finals to Stan Wawrinka losing in five sets. Stan then went on to complete the number one and number two double defeating Rafael Nadal in four sets in the final.
2017 was a different story. A second round exit set up a tough year for Novak in what turned out to be his only year since 2011 without a major as he lost in the second round of the Australian Open to wildcard Denis Istomin.
This year it is a tough start for Djokovic who opens up his campaign against Jan Lennard Struff from Germany.
The number two’s potential path to the final looks like this:
R1 – Struff
R2 – Ito/Qualifier
R3 – Evans
R4 – Schwartzman/Lajovic
QF – Tsitsipas/Bautista Agut
SF – Federer/Berrettini
F – Nadal/Medvedev
That is a pretty tough draw potentially. I expect Dan Evans to put up a good challenge in round three and it will be interesting to see if we get Novak v Diego. The Argentine has been playing good tennis this year.
As we know players will lose early, it happens in any draw but this is potentially one of the toughest second weeks the Serb could ask for.
Nadal and Medvedev will be thankful he is on the other side of the draw to Djokovic and Federer and if anything it adds pressure on them to get to the final stages.
I don’t think this matters about Djokovic being the second seed as I think he is the overwhelming favourite to win his eighth title in Melbourne which is absolutely incredible.
I went into the season with a bit of skepticism of his chances following the way his season fizzled out the little answers surrounding this arm/elbow/shoulder problem. However, the way he played down in Sydney as Serbia won the ATP Cup but from his perspective the level against Nadal and Medvedev could not have been better for the first week of the season and he has set the standards in these early couple of weeks.