Djokovic thanks Ivanisevic tips after flurry of aces

Novak Djokovic (AP)
Novak Djokovic (AP)

Melbourne - Defending champion Novak Djokovic said he had been taking tips from serving maestro Goran Ivanisevic after he hammered down a series of aces in his first-up win at the Australian Open.

Djokovic smacked 14 aces and had a first-serve percentage of 65 percent in his grinding 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 win over Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in round one.

The Serb credited his work with Croatia's Ivanisevic, who served up more than 10 000 aces in his career and joined the 16-time Grand Slam winner's team last year.

"Throughout my career my serve was maybe a little bit underestimated because of the quality of the returns and the baseline play," he told reporters late on Monday.

"There were times I was struggling with an elbow injury and I had to change the technique of my serve and a lot of things were happening, but in the last year-and-a-half I feel great serving.

"Obviously I pray to have serving days like I had today all of the time. I know it's not possible but I can back up my serving game from the back of the court."

The 32-year-old came through a mid-match lapse against Struff, the world No 37, and said he was glad to have an early test as he goes for a record-extending eighth Australian Open crown.

"Historically I had a lot of success in the Grand Slams where I had a tough opponent in the first round, because it gets me going from the beginning," he said.

"I have to be alert, I have to be on a high level and I think I was. Of course, you can always play better and I expect myself to be better as the tournament progresses."

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
45% - 4199 votes
Cricket
11% - 1045 votes
Football
18% - 1668 votes
Athletics
2% - 187 votes
Boxing
1% - 79 votes
Cycling
2% - 190 votes
Golf
5% - 466 votes
Motorsport
8% - 717 votes
Tennis
3% - 294 votes
Water sports
1% - 69 votes
American sports
1% - 70 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 245 votes
Vote