Djoker plays the Australia card as he prepares for Murray

Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:14am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic's love affair with Melbourne continued on Saturday as he completed his preparations for his Australian Open final against Britain's Andy Murray.

The Serbian world number one broke through for his first grand slam title in 2008 and has won three of his five major titles on the blue Plexicushion surface at Melbourne Park.

And a day before his potential entry into the record books as the first man to win three successive Australian Open titles in the professional era, he began the PR battle to win the hearts and minds of the Australian fans as well.

"Well, happy Australia Day, first of all, to everybody who is Australian in the house," said Djokovic, who was wearing a small koala lapel badge before he went on to answer why he though he played so well at the year's first grand slam.

"It's my most successful grand slam (and) conditions in general I like, especially in Rod Laver Arena.

"I just think that also a big reason is it's the first big tournament of the year.

"Now we had a little bit longer off season which gave us more time to recharge our batteries, to work on some things, to get ready, you come out here and you want to win the first big trophy of the year.

"I guess that's a fresh start that everybody wants."   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia speaks during a news conference at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville