The seven-time Australian Open champion is through to the third round at the Australian Open, beating Tatsuma Ito in straight sets after a masterclass performance on both serve and return. Novak will face another Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in the battle for the place in the last 16, hoping to extend his run and stay on the course for the eighth crown at Melbourne Park and the defense of 2000 points won a year ago.
Speaking after the victory over Ito, Novak mentioned the ATP Cup and praised the newly-established event that offers another chance for players to compete in the national jersey after the Davis Cup Finals. Back in November, Serbia lost a tight encounter against Russia and Novak was determined to change that at the beginning of the new season in Brisbane and Sydney, delivering six singles triumphs to lead his country towards the title that meant a lot to him and his teammates.
In the final, Novak proved to be too strong for world no. 1 Rafael Nadal, earning confidence boost ahead of their potential clash at the Australian Open where they fought in the final a year ago. Djokovic also mentioned an incredible atmosphere during the ATP Cup and the new rules that allow the player to talk with his captain and coaches or to check stats on the bench.
"ATP Cup is a new competition for us; it is great to see the ATP, the association where we players belong, creating something very similar to the Davis Cup; it is always nice to have an additional opportunity to represent your country and to feel the team spirit that we don't get to feel as much traveling around the world and playing individual tournaments.
It felt different in a positive way, to have your captain and coaches talking to you during every changeover; I enjoyed it a lot and we had tremendous success and unbelievable support that carried us towards the title."