MELBOURNE, Australia — After Novak Djokovic‘s fourth-round Australian Open demolition of Adrian Mannarino, on-court interviewer Jim Courier asked the world No. 1 to share some early thoughts on his next match.
“Stefanos and I played the final here last year. He’s been an established top-five, top-10 player for many years now. Very experienced with playing on a big stage. He’s got the complete game. Great player, no doubt,” Djokovic said. “On the other hand, you have Fritz. Let’s see.”
The superlatives were flowing freely for Tsitsipas and spared for Fritz. Was it simply a sign of confidence from the 24-time major champion? Probably.
An hour later, Fritz confirmed his place in the last eight after knocking out the Greek star in four sets.
“If I beat someone eight times in a row, I’d be pretty confident playing them, too. I can’t really fault [Djokovic] for that,” Fritz said. “It’s been one-sided with Novak. I feel like he’s played me pretty much the same every time.”
But is it truly a sure victory for the defending Australian Open champ? We take a look.
Why Novak Djokovic will win
Where do you begin? Djokovic hasn’t lost at the Australian Open in over six years, he holds an eye-popping 93-8 career record at the tournament and, oh yeah, he has hoisted the trophy a record 10 times. The world No. 1 has also feasted on Americans at the majors, losing just three times from 38 matchups.
There’s extra motivation for him this fortnight, too. Djokovic is hunting another slice of tennis history, something that could end the GOAT debate once and for all. An 11th Djokovic triumph in Melbourne would move him to outright first for major singles titles (25), breaking his current tie with Australia’s Margaret Court.
But why should Djokovic fancy this specific matchup?
Fritz has never beaten Djokovic. He has played him eight times, and eight times he has fallen well short….