Novak Djokovic showed respect for Andrey Rublev's game ahead of their Australian Open meeting as the Serb noted that the Russian has got "incredible firepower" in his strokes. Djokovic, a record nine-time Australian Open champion, is set to meet Rublev in the quarterfinal.
"He's an established top-five, top-10 player already for a few years. Incredible firepower, especially from the serve and forehand corner. Just very explosive player. A little bit like de Minaur, so hopefully the result will be the same," Djokovic said of facing Rublev, per Wide World of Sports.
What's the head-to-head between Djokovic and Rublev?
When Djokovic and Rublev meet at the Australian Open, it will be the fourth meeting between the two. At the 2021 ATP Finals, Djokovic claimed a straight-set win over Rublev.
In the 2022 Belgrade final, Rublev claimed a three-set win over Djokovic to beat the Serb for the first time in his career. In November, Djokovic and Rublev met for the third time as the Serb ousted the Russian at the ATP Finals in straight sets.
Djokovic has 21 Grand Slams, while the remaining seven Australian Open quarterfinalists have no Majors in their collection. But Djokovic is not ready yet to declare himself the 2023 Australian Open champion. "Being the only guy remaining in the tournament that has won a Grand Slam, of course flatters me but I don't think it's going to make too big of a difference, to be honest.
Maybe it will to some extent, I mean, for me, but maybe not for the other guys. I don't know," Djokovic said. Djokovic is now three wins away from tying Rafael Nadal's all-time record of 22 Grand Slams. Going into the Rublev match, Djokovic is the favorite to win and progress into the semifinal.
Djokovic hasn't lost at Melbourne Park since 2018 and he won three consecutive Australian Open titles before he was denied participation at he 2022 Australian Open. Rublev will need to deliver a major performance if he wants to have a chance at ending Djokovic's win streak at Melbourne Park.