Tennis

Novak Djokovic off to winning start in ATP Cup

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic got his season off to a perfect start with a battling win over Denis Shapovalov in the ATP Cup yesterday, but world No. 2 Rafael Nadal pulled out of his match due to a back concern.

Djokovic, who will be chasing a ninth Australian Open crown when the first Grand Slam of the year begins on Monday, was pushed hard before coming through 7-5, 7-5 against the Canadian on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal withdrew from his match against Australia's top-ranked player Alex de Minaur, citing a stiff lower back, but added that he hoped to have recovered by tomorrow, when Spain meet Greece.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer, who is skipping the Australian Open to focus on his recovery from two knee operations, is targeting next month's Doha Open for his comeback. - AFP, REUTERS

Tennis