When the men`s draw came up, the encounter between Novak Djokovic (2 ATP) and Fernando Verdasco (40 ATP) seemed to be a must watch match especially after these 2 players put up a great display of Tennis a couple of weeks ago in Dubai. Besides, all eyes are at the moment scanning how Djokovic is managing his current situation. Following a long period of unquestioned domination of the ATP World Tour, the Serb saw his reign coming to an end having Andy Murray as the main competitor. In Melbourne, Djokovic always feels good having those 6 titles as a vivid proof of his prowess.

Djokovic lacked focus while playing

Against Verdasco, a semifinalist in Melbourne back in 2009, and a former world no. 7, Djokovic`s game suffered on many occasions. Despite winning the match in straight sets 6-1 7-6 6-2, the encounter has provided some clear signs of an off balance Djokovic. It`s fair to say that Verdasco turned out an easy opponent for the Serb especially due to the huge amount of unforced errors the Spaniard did.

After taking the opening set in no time, Djokovic failed to manage the leverage to his side and the 2nd set was extremely odd with both players easily shifting between great rallies and unexpected errors and mis-hits. In this climate, both players failed to win their service game and the amount of breaks spiced things up.

Eventually, the 2nd act went to a tie-break where Djokovic managed to deliver a strong performance winning the set. The 3rd set found Verdasco making more errors and eventually he collapsed allowing the Serb to steal the set by 6-2.

Djokovic is still far from his top form, and a stronger opponent in today`s match might have been pestilential.

Djokovic needs a Grand Slam success to regain his confidence

Since Roland Garros 2016, the Serb has been on a downward spiral with little success on the ATP World Tour. But in 2017 he started well with a success against the world no. 1 in Dubai. In Melbourne, he needs to aim for the highest spot in order to regain his tremendous pace.

But the pressure of the ranking points is even higher now. Every tournament represents another pile of points to defend. It`s the result of the unreal run from the early stages of 2016.

In the 2nd round of the Australian Open 2017, Djokovic will face Denis Istomin (117 ATP), a low-ranked player who got past Ivan Dodig (170 ATP) in the opening round.

If he succeeds in his quest for a 7th title at Melbourne Park, Djokovic will probably enter to a normal course with stronger appearances but there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve that.