Novak Djokovic returns a week before Australian Open

Former world number one Novak Djokovic says he intends to play in the Australian Open “for now”.

The Serb returned after six months out with an elbow injury to win 6-1 6-4 against world number five Dominic Thiem, 25, at the Kooyong Classic.

The 30-year-old said he was “very happy with how it went” after his first competitive game since Wimbledon.

When asked if he will play in the Grand Slam that starts next week, he added: “For now, I’m in the tournament.”

Djokovic, who has dropped to number 14 in the world, will be chasing a record seventh Australian Open title if he competes in the tournament, which begins on 15 January.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion said potential five-set matches in Melbourne hold some fitness concerns for him.

“There was a doubt, especially after I pulled out of the first week of the year,” said Djokovic, who had not played sinceretiring in the Wimbledon quater-finals last July.

“I don’t say I’m at 100%, I can only say that when I get the feel of a tournament.

“Ideally I would have had another tournament before the start of the Open, but it was not meant to be.”

Djokovic, who pulled out of a warm-up tournament in Abu Dhabi last week, easily overpowered Thiem, who only arrived in Melbourne on Monday night after four days in bed with a virus.

“I’m free of fever and healthy again. I’m still jet-lagged and was slow at the beginning of the match but I’ll be fine for the Open,” the Austrian said.

Meanwhile, Andy MurrayVictoria Azarenka and Serena Williams have already withdrawn from 2018’s opening Grand Slam while Stan Wawrinka remains a doubt.

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