Djokovic in confident mood Down Under

After an unstoppable 2011, world number one Novak Djokovic talks tough ahead of title defence at Australian Open.

    Defending champions Kim Clijsters and Novak Djokovic prepare to repeat their Australian success [GALLO/GETTY]

    Serbian ace Novak Djokovic warned he was in the form of his life and hoping to repeat his landmark 2011 as he prepares to unleash his title tilt at the Australian Open.

    The world number one said he would take some stopping as he bids to add to last year's triple grand slam triumph, achieved during a breathtaking year often described as the best the sport has seen.

    "You can always see the negatives and positives. I'm always trying to take the positive side and say, okay, I've done it once, I can do it twice," he said in Melbourne.

    "I feel that I'm at the peak of my career. I feel that physically, mentally, game-wise, I'm right up there.

    "I can perform equally well on any surface, as I have proven in 2011.

    That's my focus. That's something that I'm thinking of. Just taking it slowly, step by step."

    Olympic dreams

    Djokovic said the London Olympics were firmly in his sights and that he planned to enter both the singles and the men's doubles in a bid to bring home a medal to Serbia.

    "It's right up there. It's one of the biggest priorities this year, Olympic Games. I had that privilege and honour to represent my country in 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was a remarkable experience, like no other," he said.

    "Tennis is just one of so many sports that is present in the Olympic Games, which is the most prestigious, the most valuable, the most well known sporting event in the history of sport. That says enough."

    He also shrugged off the challenge of resurgent world number three Roger Federer, who is coming off a 20-match winning streak including victory at the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of last season.

    "Well, he finished off the season best from all the other players. He had over 15 wins in a row. He definitely loves playing indoors. He loves playing in the London event," Djokovic said.

    "But, you know, it's a whole new year. It's a whole new season. We're starting to play outdoors. We'll see if everybody can keep up."


    Djokovic is in line to meet 2011 finalist Andy Murray in the semi-final [GETTY]

    Djokovic said he had taken extra rest in the off-season to shake off the shoulder and back problems that overshadowed the final months of last season, but trained on Christmas Day during a low-key festive period.

    Last year, he destroyed Andy Murray in the Melbourne final and went on to record a 41-match winning streak before finally being halted by Federer at the French Open in June.

    "Everything is possible. Obviously 2011 has been the best year so far in my career. It's going to be very difficult to repeat what I have done," said the Serb.

    "But look, I've done it once. Why not twice? Why not staying optimistic and positive about the whole season? It's a start.

    "Obviously I'm not thinking too far away from Australia. My focus is directed to this tournament. I want to start off the year well, as everybody else (does) obviously."

    Djokovic, who also won five Masters titles last year, will begin his Australian Open title defence against Italy's Paolo Lorenzi and is in the same half of the draw as Murray. 



    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.