Novak Djokovic reacts to Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open exit

Novak Djokovic gives his thoughts on Rafael Nadal's surprise exit at the Australian Open at the hands of Fernando Verdasco

Novak Djokovic insisted that he was not surprised to see Fernando Verdasco knock Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open in the first round on Tuesday.

Verdasco stunned his fellow Spaniard by claiming a 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 3-6 7-6 (4-7) 6-2 victory over four hours and 40 minutes to condemn Nadal to his first ever first-round exit at the tournament.

Nadal has struggled to find consistent form in the grand slam tournaments in recent years.

But Djokovic believes that Verdasco deserves credit for the way he battled so hard against his opponent to reach round two.

Djokovic told a news conference on Wednesday: “I’ve seen some of that match.

“I think when the draw came out, that was one of the toughest first-round opponents you can get for Rafa, playing against Verdasco. That is a very, very good player, quality player. A bit unpredictable.

“If he’s on, like he was yesterday, he’s very tough to beat. Big serve. Very aggressive. Huge forehand.

“It was a close one. A close one. And Rafa fought, but Verdasco was just better in the end.”

Djokovic was speaking after he booked his place in the third round with a comfortable 6-1 6-2 7-6 (7-3) win over France’s Quentin Halys.

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