Australian tennis player James Duckworth acknowledged he felt the nerves in his first match of the season at the Murray River Open in Melbourne. Duckworth, ranked at No. 105 in the world, handed a straight-set defeat to Tomas Machac 6-3 6-4 to kick off his season on a positive way.
“There’s always nerves for the first match of the year, you’re not sure how you’re going to perform,” Duckworth acknowledged after the match, per Tennis Australia. Duckworth is hoping to make a solid run at the Australian Open and a good preparation could be the key.
"I haven’t played for a while, so to be able to get a win and another match is great leading into the Aussie Open,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth praises Ugo Humbert
Duckworth plays next against world No. 32 Humbert and he certainly respects the game of the rising French star.
"He’s a great young player, a leftie with a big serve,” Duckworth said. “I watched a little bit of him towards the end of last year when we won a tour event in Antwerp and beat Demon (Alex de Minaur), so he’s obviously playing pretty well and likes playing on the hard courts.
It’s going to be really tough, but I’m looking forward to it”. Meanwhile, fellow Australian Matthew Ebden claimed a 6-3 7-6 (6) win over Federico Delbonis in the first round at the Great Ocean Road Open.
"Delbonis is quality opposition … and, like me, he’s been in the top 40. We both know each other pretty well, and yeah, I would hope on the hard court I would be a favourite to beat him,” Ebden related. “But yeah, I was just happy it played out the way I thought it should”.
Damir Dzumhur pulled out from his match against Delbonis and Ebden replaced the Bosnian. "Obviously Aussie boys are doing well at home (and) I’m one of them now, so it’s great. I feel very comfortable out there,” Ebden said.