The seven-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will seek the eighth Norman Brookes Challenge Cup from January 20 in Melbourne, standing as one of the favorites for the title alongside Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.
Before that, Novak will lead Serbia at the inaugural ATP Cup between January 3-12, hoping to bounce back after that terrible loss against Russia at the Davis Cup Finals and to chase notable team trophy at the beginning of the year.
Serbia will face France, South Africa and Chile in Brisbane, with Novak who opens his campaign against Kevin Anderson at Pat Rafter Arena on Saturday, January 4. Heading to Brisbane after preparations in Monte Carlo and Dubai, Novak celebrated the new year with his teammates on Tuesday night, visiting the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane on Wednesday morning and speaking about the upcoming Aussie month of tennis.
Novak said he would use that extra couple of days in Australia nicely, trying to acclimatize and get in the best possible shape ahead of the challenging matches in Brisbane, Sydney (potentially), Adelaide and Melbourne. Novak finished second behind Rafa el Nadal in 2019, battling with a great rival throughout the season and falling short in the end after failing to reach the ATP Finals semi-final.
A year ago, Novak defeated Rafa in one-sided Australian Open final, lifting the seventh trophy at his favorite Major and hoping for more of the same in four weeks. "ATP Cup should serve as ideal preparation for the Australian Open.
I haven't been playing in the opening week of the season in Australia for a while, mostly competing in Qatar instead. Starting the year in Brisbane at the ATP Cup can help in shaping up the form for Melbourne. I came here earlier than most years to get acclimatized; it is much colder back in Europe and it takes a bit of time; that's why I decided to spend more time in Australia ahead of the competition.
I love being in Australia - it feeds me with positive energy. The concept of the ATP Cup allows us to represent the country and be a part of a team, which is not something we experience during the year very often. It does feed you with energy and motivation. It's a lot of intensity on the court but also a lot of fun and relaxation off it."