Novak Djokovic impresses on return to action in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic's ranking slump could make him the man to avoid when the Aussie Open draw is made

Novak Djokovic's ranking slump could make him the man to avoid when the Aussie Open draw is made

Djokovic, who had been sidelined with the elbow injury since a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon past year, initially planned to play in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi and then a tournament in Qatar to start the season, but withdrew from both due to lingering pain in his elbow.

Djokovic, a former world No 1, has been sidelined by an elbow injury and had to pull out of a planned warm-up outing in Abu Dhabi.

Novak Djokovic has practised behind closed doors ahead of next week's Australian Open, adding to the intrigue surrounding his return from a lengthy injury layoff.

"It feels great. Obviously I was waiting for this moment for six months to get out on the court and play a match", Djokovic said.

"I had a great opponent, it was a test for me to see where I am, how the work we did pays off on court. It worked pretty well".

"I didn't know what was going to happen but we did some treatments and gave it a lot of thought and luckily for me I'm here. For now, I'm in the [Australian Open] and let's hope with God's grace that everything will be fine in the next five days".

Novak Djokovic lost his top ranking spot at the end of 2016, ending his incredible dominant run that saw him secure 12 grand slams in just a few years.

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In a video posted to Twitter, Djokovic also wrote: "I feel ready!"

The draw for the January 15-28 tournament, the first grand slam of the year, takes place later on Thursday.

"I'll take whatever I can - one or two matches here will be good preparation".

The 30-year-old said he was "very happy with how it went" after his first competitive game since Wimbledon.

Thiem only arrived in Melbourne on Monday night from Doha after four days in bed, but expects to be firing on all cylinders by next week.

"I'm free of fever and healthy again". He won only two ATP titles a year ago, and when his troublesome elbow injury became too much, he took six months off to recuperate. "It will probably be ideal if I got another tournament under my belt coming up to the Australian Open but I haven't had a chance, it wasn't meant to be, my elbow was not ready".

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