Novak Djokovic continues to remain an overwhelming favourite to defend his Australian Open crown early next year but he is taking no chances. The Serb has now added the Adelaide International to the list of tournaments he will be playing before the year’s first major.
Having slipped to the number two on the ATP Rankings, Djokovic is 7/4 (with Bet365) to win the Australian Open 2020 title as well, a tournament he has already won seven times in his career. And in order to make it a record eighth win, Djokovic will be leaving no stone unturned.
Having hired Goran Ivanisevic as his coach, Djokovic has now added the newly-formed ATP Adelaide International as one of the tournaments he will be participating in before the Australian Open. This comes on the back of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and the ATP Cup, two tournaments that Djokovic will be featuring in as well.
What makes this a rather interesting move is the Serb rarely plays any competitive tennis in the week before any Grand Slam, having done that just once. That attempt came in the week leading up to the 2017 Wimbledon but Djokovic, who was the second seed at the major, crashed out at the quarterfinal stage because of an injury. He was down a set to Tomas Berdych when he retired from the match.
Last year, Djokovic had played at the Mubadala tennis and followed it up with his presence at the Qatar Open, where he reached the semifinals before going down to Roberto Bautista-Agur. However, he came back well to triumph at the Australian Open, making it his seventh title at in Melbourne and third Grand Slam win in a row.
The Adelaide International is in its first season after having been an exhibition tournament in the years before this. Other than Djokovic, the pair of Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex De Minaur have also signed up for this competition but the Djokovic decision gives the Adelaide International a major shot in the arm.
Djokovic is yet to explain the reasoning behind the change he has made especially given his shoulder issues in recent times.
Among other players, Rafael Nadal is 7/2 to win the first major of the year, followed by Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev (both 10/1) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (12/1).