American tennis coach Paul Annacone believes Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams will both appear victorious in defending their Australian Open title at Melbourne Park.
Annacone predicted Djokovic and Williams as the winners of their respective categories at the 2016 Australian Open. The 52-year-old consultant for Tennis Australia, who is also the former coach of all-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer and former world No. 1 Pete Sampras, said Williams is the one to beat in the women’s division, while Djokovic will win just because of what the Serb has accomplished last season.
“We’ve seen her win major titles last year in particular when she was ill and not playing that well in Paris so for her to be able to do that I think instilled kind of a new level of confidence, so as long as she stays injury-free, she’s the one to beat on the women’s side,” Annacone said of Williams, reports Tennis World USA.
Djokovic is coming off an impressive demolition of career rival Rafael Nadal at the Qatar Open in Doha earlier this month. The victory was the world No. 1’s sixth title in a row after stemming from his victorious campaign at the US Open, where he beat Federer in the final round. According to Nadal himself, it would be difficult to see Djokovic losing matches, especially with the way “Djoker” is dominating the game.
“Good thing of Novak, the better thing, is he’s an amazing player,” Nadal told Fox Sports. “Second good thing is he never has injuries, so that helps a lot to have full confidence on yourself, and to don’t lose the rhythm never.”
Djokovic opens his 2016 Australian Open title defense against Hyeon Chung of South Korea, while Nadal faces a tough first round match-up against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who took the “King of Clay” in an epic showdown back in 2009’s edition of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Williams, who pulled out of the Hopman Cup exhibition last month due to a sore knee, insists she is “130 percent” healthy, ruling out any suggestion of a nagging injury, reports the New York Times. Williams has a chance to equal Steffi Graf’s 22 Grand Slams singles titles if she wins the Australian Open.