Sport Former Wimbledon winner warns not to write off Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the Australian Open

12:31  07 december  2017
12:31  07 december  2017 Source:   International Business Times

Novak Djokovic 'can't wait to get back on court' as he targets 2018 Australian Open glory

  Novak Djokovic 'can't wait to get back on court' as he targets 2018 Australian Open glory Novak Djokovic will return to action for the first time since Wimbledon in Abu Dhabi. He is hoping that a winning return will help in his quest for the 2018 Australian Open title.The Serbian ace started the year as the number two-ranked player in the world behind Andy Murray as he began his campaign with a win over the Briton to triumph in Doha.

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Andy Murray Davis Cup Winner , Wimbledon , US Open and Olympic Champion. Novak Djokovic was back to his very best as he crushed defending champion Roger Federer in the semi finals of the 2011 Australian Open .

Novak Djokovic © Getty Novak Djokovic

Former Wimbledon winner Lleyton Hewitt has warned the tennis world not to underestimate Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray as they gear up for their returns.

The duo started the year as the top-two ranked players in the world, however, poor performances along with injuries saw them drop in the rankings, with both players last featuring at SW19 in July.

Having emulated Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by taking time off until the new year, Djokovic and Murray are set to return to action, with the pair both confirmed to feature at the 2018 Australian Open.

There are doubts, however, on whether they can return to their previous levels that saw them dominate the entirety of 2016, especially with Federer and Nadal enjoying career renaissances in 2017.

Safin: Djokovic will struggle to compete with Nadal and Federer but Murray will have his moments

  Safin: Djokovic will struggle to compete with Nadal and Federer but Murray will have his moments Former world number one Marat Safin believes that while Andy Murray will have some success against Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, he does not see Novak Djokovic faring as well. Djokovic and Murray started the year as the top two ranked players, but poor performances along with injuries saw them drop in the rankings and eventually take time off after both last featured at Wimbledon in July.Meanwhile, Nadal and Federer have benefited from the duo's absence in 2017 as they split the four Grand Slams between themselves. They have also won a combined 13 titles and currently share the top two places in the rankings.

Andy Murray is back at Wimbledon to defend his Men’s Singles Champion title. He played well at the Australian Open , losing in the semis to Nadal. Novak Djokovic . Best Wimbledon : Champion 2011.

The top-seeded Djokovic ousted defending US Open champion Marin Cilic in straight sets. Novak Djokovic advanced to his sixth straight semifinal at Wimbledon . Djokovic followed No. 2 seed Roger Federer and No. 3 seed Andy Murray into the semifinals.

Hewitt shares these doubts as well but claims he would never write them off, especially for the Australian Open next month.

"I don't know if they'll be as dominant as they were," Hewitt said, as quoted on SBS. "For them to pick up where they left off a couple of years ago is not that easy.

"But I would never write those guys off. They've played so well in Australia in hot conditions and also in night matches on Rod Laver Arena. If they can get through that first week and give themselves a chance, then they'll be tough to beat."

With the returns of many other injured players like Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, 2018 is heating up for a great start.

However, because these players are coming back from injury, Hewitt believes it is the perfect time for the younger Australian players like Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson and Thanasi Kokkinakis to make a mark at Melbourne Park.

"It's an interesting one," Hewitt added. "You've got (Stan) Wawrinka, (Milos) Raonic, (Kei) Nishikori - a lot of top guys coming off an extended break from injuries or surgeries at the end of the year.

"So the door is open for some of these younger Aussie boys."

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic injuries prove men's tennis calendar needs change says Judy Murray .
Federer and Nadal struggled with injury in 2016 with the former playing a limited schedule to stay fit in 2017. Djokovic and Murray ended their 2017 season early owing to injury.Sir Andy Murray's mother cited the number of injuries to top players in the last two seasons to push for a change in the schedule. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal struggled with injury in 2016 before making a strong comeback this year, while the 2017 season saw Novak Djokovic, Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic among others struggle with injuries.

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