January 19, 2018 / 7:22 AM / 7 months ago

Physically extraordinary Djokovic is battle ready, says Agassi

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic is “physically extraordinary” and can emulate Roger Federer by winning the Australian Open in his first tournament for six months, mentor Andre Agassi said on Friday.

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 2018. Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a shot against Gael Monfils of France. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The Serb arrived in Australia with question marks over his elbow injury and has played two rounds in Melbourne wearing a compression sleeve on his serving arm.

The 12-times grand slam champion has re-modelled his serving action to take the pressure off the joint but it held up during a four-set win over Gael Monfils in brutal heat on Thursday.

“If you haven’t played for a long time, anything that isn’t quite the centerpiece of your game, can go through a bit of a challenge,” former world number one Agassi, who flew in to be in Djokovic’s corner, told AAP on Friday.

“With a new service motion and the pressure and the big match and not playing in a while, that was the time for it to get tested and, getting through it, he’ll be a lot better for it moving forward.”

Djokovic had not played a competitive match for six months before his first round clash with American Donald Young and while that was a breeze, his clash with Monfils in 40 degrees heat proved to Agassi that the 30-year-old is battle ready.

“Recovery is not something I worry about with him,” said Agassi, who added he is not working with Djokovic for ‘personal gain’.

“Novak is physically extraordinary and he has a recovery ability that is unlike mine, probably just because the nature of how his body is made and how efficient he is.

“The guy has a capacity for pushing himself that is unique.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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