Djokovic cool and calm about extreme Melbourne heat

Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:28am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic is a red hot favorite to overcome all opponents and clinch another Australian Open title this year, although extreme temperatures will be a wild card the Serb has to watch out for.

Djokovic opens the defense of his title on Rod Laver Arena on Monday against South Korea's rising talent Chung Hyeon, right about the time temperatures are expected to approach 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit) at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic famously withdrew from his quarter-final against Andy Roddick in 2009 due to heat exhaustion with temperatures at about the same level. He was the defending champion at the time.

"You got to get yourself ready for whatever is coming your way," Djokovic said on Sunday when asked about the possibility of the extreme heat.

"You spend the off-season training hard, getting your endurance level to that extent where you can actually handle these conditions.

"Of course, sometimes it's very difficult to handle them if it goes over 40 degrees.

"Whatever is coming our way tomorrow, I'll try to be

ready for it."   Continued...

Serbia's Novak Djokovic listens to his coach Boris Becker during a practice session at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 16, 2016. The Australian Open tennis tournament starts January 18. REUTERS/Thomas Peter