NEW YORK // The Serbian Novak Djokovic heads into the US Open with the confidence of having won a grand slam and an Olympic medal. The third seed, 21, who won his first grand slam title at the Australian Open in January and claimed the bronze medal at the Beijing Games, will have taken on the Frenchman Arnaud Clement in the first round early this morning, weather permitting.
A runner-up to Roger Federer in last year's edition, Djokovic is chasing Rafael Nadal and the Swiss at the top of the rankings and believes his victory in Australia has improved his chances of winning in New York. "It gives you relief and confidence," Djokovic said. "It gives you a belief that when you find yourself in those certain important moments when you just need to come up with something good and something special and just try to be calm and hold your nerves.
"That's what happens when you have experience with winning grand slams. That's why Roger and Rafa are so dominant and they look so good when they have important moments." The former champion Andy Roddick should have opened his quest for a second title against the Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, while the fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia was also expected to be in first-round action this morning. * Reuters