By Jaclyn Stacey
(January 11, 2013) MELBOURNE, Australia – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic faced a tough opponent on Friday in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car at the world premiere of his new HEAD Graphene™ Speed racquet at Melbourne’s Sandown racetrack.
The HEAD YouTek™ Graphene™ Speed Pro racquet will be Djokovic’s new weapon as he attempts to defend his Australian Open crown starting Monday.
The speed test took place on the main straight of the racecourse with Djokovic standing on track with his new racquet artillery to compete in a speed test to determine whether he could serve faster than the racecar.
As the Audi R8 sped past, Djokovic simultaneously served and managed to cross the line first, and in typical joker fashion, dropped to his knees in victory.
“It was a great experience and a great stunt. HEAD always comes out with a great idea. To be honest I didn’t know who would be faster as this is an ultimate speed machine so I’m glad that I won in the end.”
Djokovic faced a news conference following the stunt and spoke about his feelings ahead of the Australian Open and the new season.
“I feel good. It’s a new season for me and everybody starts from the same line which makes it more challenging and it’s a very competitive sport these days. We’ve had four grand slam winners in 2012 which makes our game much more interesting for the crowd and for everybody. I think there are no clear favorites in any grand slam.”
Djokovic does not want to appear too confident coming into the Australian Open, and says there is always room for improvement. “You can always get better. There is always improvement in everybody’s game and as long as you have that kind of mindset it will give you that edge, being more committed to your daily routine.”
He spoke of the pressure involved in being the world number one and defending Australian Champion. “Pressure is part of what we do. It’s a privilege also because it means you are doing something that is worthy that you’ve been dreaming of all your life. But it’s also a challenge and I’ve managed to deal with it and managed to understand it better by playing many years at the top level of tennis.”
Djokovic plays former top 20 player Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round of the Australian Open starting Monday and will be taking every match seriously. “In the opening round you get to play lower ranked guys but still with a lot of quality and a lot of experience like Paul-Henri Mathieu who is definitely somebody not to underestimate and I have to come to the court serious and try to get the job done as quickly as possible.”
In 2013 Djokovic says his main goal is to win the French Open, the only grand slam to have eluded him in his career, as well as maintaining his position at the top of the rankings and winning the other slams.
The new HEAD Graphene™ Speed viral film was also released featuring Djokovic wielding his new racquet, and the video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/headtennis
Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.