Australian Open: Novak Djokovic 'ready' despite illness

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013
Australian Open 2015
Dates: 19 January-1 February Venue: Melbourne Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, selected live text commentaries and daily reports on the BBC Sport website

Novak Djokovic insisted he felt ready to begin his bid for a fifth Australian Open title despite feeling unwell on the eve of the tournament.

The world number one did not arrive at Melbourne Park to practise until Sunday after suffering a "little bit with the flu and stomach".

He added: "I had a tough couple days but it's all behind me now. I'm ready."

Djokovic, 27, has another day of rest before facing Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in round one on Tueday.

Bedene, who came through qualifying, is based in the UK and in the process of applying for a British passport, which he hopes could open the door to the Davis Cup team.

Djokovic was courted by the LTA in his younger days, and the Serb said: "I wish him all the best. If he thinks it's the proper way for him to continue his tennis career, I support him."

Third seed Rafael Nadal has played down his chances of winning a second Australian Open title as he makes his way back from injury.

The Spaniard, 28, has played just eight matches since Wimbledon following a wrist injury and appendicitis.

"I don't consider myself one of the favourites here," said Nadal, runner-up in Melbourne 12 months ago.

"Last year, yes. This year is a different story. I would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win."

Rafael Nadal gets treatment at last year's Australian Open
Nadal suffered back problems during last year's tournament

Nadal lost his only tour match of the season so far against Germany's Michael Berrer at the Qatar Open on 6 January, and faces a tricky first-round contest in Melbourne against experienced Russian Mikhail Youzhny on Monday.

The 2009 champion almost added a second Australian title last year, only to succumb to a back injury during the final against Stan Wawrinka which he lost 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.

"I cannot say it is completely recovered because that can happen when you compete, when you put your back under stress," Nadal said.

"It can come back, no? It Is something that I'm not 100% confident in yet.

"If you talk about my knees, I say, 'OK, it can happen, but I am confident about my knees because they are working very well'.

"But my back, I don't have enough time having good feelings to say I am 100% perfect. I need to take care about this for the moment. But hopefully it will be fine."

Nadal beat Roger Federer in straight sets in last year's semi-finals, but the 33-year-old Swiss arrives in optimistic mood this year after a fine 2014 that lacked only an 18th major title.

"Clearly things are more calm this year, coming in," said the four-time champion, who secured the 1,000th victory of his career last week when he won the Brisbane International title.

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