Djokovic commits to Queen's to kick off grass-court campaign

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The Independent Online

Novak Djokovic, the new Australian Open champion, will prepare for Wimbledon this summer by playing at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club in west London. The 23-year-old Serb has won 19 titles in his career but none on grass. The closest he came was three years ago, when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the Queen's final.

Although Roger Federer has not played at Queen's for 12 years, preferring to open his grass-court campaign at Halle in Germany, the event continues to draw most of the world's best players, with Andy Murray also expected to commit.

"Rafa and I had an incredible match in the Queen's final in 2008," Djokovic recalled. "Even though I lost in straight sets I had breaks of serve in both sets, but I didn't use them. I reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year, but didn't perform as well as I wanted to... [But] there are not many serve-and-volley players now and the courts now are much more suited to my game than they would have been 15 years ago."

Djokovic, who also made the last four in 2007, said the Wimbledon title was the one he most wanted to win. "It's the tournament that I watched when I was very young," the world No 3 said. "It motivated me to be a professional tennis player. It's the most important tournament for me."

The Serb is due to play next week in Rotterdam, along with Murray, and would overtake Federer as world No 2 if he reached the semi-finals. The Scot could also reclaim the No 4 spot from Robin Soderling there.