British No. 2 Dan Evans believes Novak Djokovic is in near-perfect form and is the favourite to win the Australian Open next month.
Djokovic will return to Melbourne next month to try for a tenth Australian Open title.
The Serbian was prohibited from playing in the 2022 Grand Slam due to covid vaccination entry requirements which led to a much-publicised deportation for the former world number one.
Australia’s vaccination requirements have since been relaxed and Djokovic recently got the news that his ban had been overturned, meaning he is free to compete in the Australian Open next month.
The fact that Djokovic was denied participation in the tournament this year has prompted many players on the tour to back the Serb as favourite in 2023, including Evans who confirmed that Djokovic is ‘pumped’ to be returning to Australia.
‘’Novak was around and I saw him in the gym a bit and had a couple of chats with him,’’ Evans told The Daily Mail. ‘’When you look at him in the gym, he looks like a gymnast - the way he stretches, it's like watching a 14-year-old.
‘’So if his body doesn't break down he has to be in a great position.
‘’He had just got confirmation that he can go to Australia and he is pretty pumped about it.
‘’When you look at how he finished the year, and his ranking with how little he played compared to others, he is definitely the favourite for Australia and [Rafael] Nadal is probably second favourite.
‘’I reckon Novak still believes he is the best by miles and his game looks as sure as ever.’’
Evans also dismissed the idea of age slowing the likes of Djokovic and Nadal down, claiming that still competing at the top level in your mid-thirties ‘isn’t such a big thing’ in this day and age.
‘’Novak and Rafa are in their mid-thirties, but sport is changing.
‘’You look at [Argentina captain Lionel] Messi in recent weeks and someone like [France forward] Olivier Giroud.
‘’Then you look at someone like Andy [Murray] and what he is doing with a metal hip. 35 really isn’t such a big thing these days.’’
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