Saturday 25 February 2017

Niland relishing chance to take on world No 1

Tennis

Paddy Hickey

CONOR NILAND says he can't wait to take to the court for his dream showdown against Novak Djokovic in the first round of the US Open.

Facing up to the world No 1 and holder of the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles obviously severely minimises Niland's prospects of advancing to the last 64 but the Irishman is not fazed.

"Some people might think it's a draw from hell for me, but that's not the way I would look at it," said Niland, who won three matches in the qualifying round to secure his place at Flushing Meadows.

"Obviously, it's going to be a very difficult match for me, but it should be a great experience and it's something I'm really looking forward to."

His Davis Cup team-mate Louk Sorensen also faces a tough task, after being pitted against the No 6 seed, Sweden's Robin Soderling.

Both Niland and Sorensen are due to play their opening round matches tomorrow, but Djokovic has requested that his clash against Niland be deferred to Wednesday due to an injury.

Sorensen's march to the main draw is one of fairytale proportions after he decided to retire last May because of a succession of injuries. But he recently opted to make a comeback and his progress to a Grand Slam for the second time -- he won a round in the 2010 Australian Open -- has exceeded his most optimistic expectations.

Irish Independent

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