TennisSection previews the 2023 Adelaide International as Novak Djokovic takes on Constant Lestienne in the Round of 32 on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.
Novak Djokovic returning to Australia was already big news. But playing at the Adelaide International for the first time in over 10 years is even bigger news. The top seed will be expected to ease his way into the second round when he faces France’s late bloomer Constant Lestienne on Tuesday.
Let’s be honest, when Novak Djokovic was allowed to play in 2022, he was unquestionably the best player in the world. Djokovic won almost every title imaginable when he competed in a chaotic season that began with his controversial deportation from Australia. He also missed ATP events held in the US and the US Open. But winning Wimbledon and the season-ending ATP Finals (went undefeated during the week) eased the pain. Finishing the year inside the Top 5 after only playing 11 tournaments is a testament to Djokovic’s brilliance. So how will he fare in his opening match at the Adelaide International against Constant Lestienne?
Constant Lestienne made his mark on the ATP Tour last season. Before 2022, he had only played one Tour-level match in his professional career. But he played 11 of them last season, recording his best result in Tel Aviv where he made the semifinals. He took out the likes of Adrian Mannarino, Maxime Cressy, and Emil Ruusuvuori en route before losing to Marin Cilic. Incidentally, that was a tournament Novak Djokovic won so resoundingly last year.
Novak Djokovic and Constant Lestienne have not crossed paths on the ATP Tour. Tuesday’s match at the Adelaide International will be their first official meeting. Djokovic is odds-on favorite to storm into the second round. He is almost unplayable in this part of the continent having won the most Australian Open titles. It is rather stranger for him because he has rarely played any tune-up events in January, but that doesn’t in any way affect his motivation. Back the Serbian star to make a strong start on Tuesday.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Novak Djokovic in 2 sets.
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