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‘Perfect’ Djokovic raises hopes of Golden Slam

 

Novak Djokovic is hitting ever greater heights ahead of the Australian Open — posing problems for his rivals, and raising distant hopes of the first ever men's “Golden Slam”.

Picking up where he left off after a blistering 2015, Djokovic destroyed Rafael Nadal in last week's Qatar Open final, in a performance the Spaniard called “stratospheric”.

“I played against a player who did everything perfect. I know nobody playing tennis like this ever,” said the 14-time Grand Slam-winner.

No male player, and only Steffi Graf on the women's side, has ever achieved the “Golden Slam”: winning all four major titles and Olympic singles gold in a single year.

Last season Djokovic fell just one victory short of the first calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, after losing the French Open final to Stan Wawrinka.

Acknowledging his form, the 28-year-old said in Doha: “I'm hoping that I can actually peak and play as well as I did today in Melbourne.”

A strong performance looks likely in Melbourne, Djokovic's most successful Grand Slam where he has won five out of five finals, including last year against Andy Murray.

But the 10-time major champion will not be looking too far beyond the year's opening Grand Slam, which starts on Monday.

“My thoughts are only directed to Melbourne and what I need to do there,” he said.