Djokovic slips under radar into last eight

A refreshed Novak Djokovic has been quietly working his way through the Australian Open draw, leaving the other contenders for the first grand slam of the season to steal the limelight and the headlines.



It was only two years ago when Djokovic lifted the trophy at Melbourne Park, grinding down Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets to win his maiden grand slam.

Yet the gifted 22-year-old has almost been the forgotten man this year despite easing effortlessly past his first four opponents to book a place in the last eight.

After a crushing 6-1 6-2 7-5 win over hapless fourth-round opponent Lukasz Kubot today, Djokovic faces a quarter-final re-match against Tsonga, and feels quietly confident.

"Jo can beat anyone if he's really on the roll and if he starts hitting the ball well," Djokovic told reporters.

"I just to have keep pressuring him and just apply my style of the game, not allow him to control the match.

"I'm happy with the way things are going.

"I won this tournament two years ago, so I just look forward to the upcoming challenges. I'm ready to give my 100 percent and try to get a step further."

The Serbian has ended the last three seasons at number three behind Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, but has been unable to add to his grand slam tally since beating Tsonga here in 2008.

On-court his strong all-round game lacks a signature weapon, while off it, his speech lacks sound bites.

Djokovic doesn't buy into the banter about "scared" opponents and prize-money splurges that rolls casually off Davydenko's tongue.

The Serbian's press conferences are like his game - meticulous, efficient and not quite so well-attended as his rivals' ones are.

"Well, it's the fourth round. I knew that as a seeded player, if you look at the draw, I probably had the best possible draw at the moment," Djokovic said matter-of-factly about his progress.

As defending champion, Djokovic crashed out of the quarter-finals last year due to heat exhaustion and could not get further than a semi-final in the other three grand slams.

That record, for a player who wants to be number one and has the game to challenge Nadal and Federer, still smarts.

"In a way I was expecting a lot, especially from Roland Garros in 2009, because I had the best year on clay courts by far."

"This year is absolutely something else. I just feel very confident playing."

Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
News
news
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss