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Sleeve-wearing Djokovic channels Kyrgios as he blitzes Thiem at Kooyong

Novak Djokovic in action at Kooyong Classic

Melbourne, January 10: Novak Djokovic wore a compression sleeve just like Nick Kyrgios as the former world number one made light work of Dominic Thiem at the Kooyong Classic in his return to the court ahead of next week's Australian Open.

Djokovic channelled his inner Kyrgios in Melbourne, donning a sleeve on his troublesome right elbow as the 12-time grand slam champion dismantled world number five Thiem 6-1 6-4 in Wednesday's exhibition match.

A six-time winner at the Australian Open, tournament officials have been sweating on the fitness of Djokovic, who was forced to skip the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and the Qatar Open, having not played competitively since withdrawing from the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in July.

However, the 30-year-old Serbian star was in control throughout his comeback as he wrapped up proceedings in just over an hour midweek.

And Djokovic was in a jovial mood during the contest, poking fun at Australia's Kyrgios, who has emerged as a contender to claim his maiden slam amid fitness concerns over the former and last year's runner-up Rafael Nadal following Andy Murray's withdrawal.

"It feels good. Feels like Kyrgios serving with the sleeve on," Djokovic joked as he spoke to Channel 7 at the end of the opening set. "Now I know his secret!"

"It feels good to be back on the court," he continued. "I can't stop laughing and smiling inside and outside. It's a great feeling. It gives me great joy. I love this sport - it's a great passion of mine. I missed it."

Djokovic added: "I had that kind of matchplay attitude. That's what I needed - I wanted to play the opening week of the season and my elbow didn't permit me to. is a great lead-up for Aussie Open."

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 10:00 [IST]
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