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Djokovic bonds with new racket in easy Sydney win

SERBIA'S Novak Djokovic finally made peace with his new racket to get his preparations for next week's Australian Open back on track.

The world number three blamed the racket for a surprise first round loss at last week's Brisbane International, but had no such problems with it today in beating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1 6-2 at the Sydney International.

Djokovic, who will be defending his Australian Open title in Melbourne, had previously used a Wilson racket but changed to Head this year and said he needed more time to adjust to the switch.

"It's a very hard thing to do. Probably the most difficult decision in tennis, switching the racket when things are going good and with the way I finished the season," he told a news conference.

"Head and Wilson are the two biggest companies in the sport, and they have some differences. They try to make the racket as best as possible, you know, to my wishes.

"They did a good job. They're really trying. So even though the racket is the same practically, it takes time mentally to be able to get used to something new."

Djokovic's unexpected loss in Brisbane proved a blessing in disguise because it gave him an extra week to practice with his racket before coming to Sydney, where he was given a wildcard entry.

"I didn't have a lot have practice before my match in Brisbane and didn't get used to the conditions, jet lag and a lot of things involved," he said.

"Here it's a different story, so I'm very happy to get a couple matches under my belt here. Hopefully I can be ready for the most important event here in Australia."

Djokovic's biggest problem in Sydney was not his racket, but rather the scorching summer heat as the temperature rose to 36 degrees Celsius, giving him an added incentive to wrap up his victory in straight sets.

"It was very hot. I think this day was the hottest since I came to Australia," he said.

"It's always good to win easy on a day like this."


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