MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It took about a week for
Novak Djokovic to go from worrying about whether he simply could play a match at all on his injured left hamstring to thinking he can win
And one pain-free, nearly perfect performance in the
fourth round Monday made a world of difference.
"Tonight, the way I played, the way I felt, gives me reason now to believe that I can go all the way," Djokovic said after completely overwhelming 22nd-seeded Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals for the 13th time
at Melbourne Park and 54th time at all Grand Slam tournaments.
"I mean, I always believe I can go all the way, in terms of my tennis," continued Djokovic, whose 21 major championships include nine in Australia. "But the way my leg felt before tonight wasn't giving me too many hopes, so to say, for the entire tournament, to go all the way through. Tonight I feel that, so I feel positive about it."
A year ago, he got kicked out of the country before the Australian Open because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. He still hasn't gotten the shots, but the government's coronavirus rules have been relaxed.