NOVAK Djokovic believes Andy Murray would be right to fly home for the birth of his first child during the Australian Open – even if it left the tournament without a final.

Djokovic and Murray, seeded one and two respectively, can only meet at the last stage in Melbourne, but that remains a distinct possibility given three of the last five finals there have featured the pair.

The Scot has said he will head home if his wife Kim goes into labour earlier than expected, with their baby due in mid-February. That could, in theory, hand Djokovic the awkward honour of a free pass to the title but the Serb understands Murray’s stance, having welcomed his own first child Stefan in October, 2014.

“Of course I support and I agree with his decision. I would do the same,” Djokovic said, ahead of the action getting under way today. “I just became a father almost 15 months ago. I understand the position that he’s in. I was not in a Grand Slam. I was still kind of in a dilemma whether my wife would go into labour or not. I was actually in China. I didn’t know whether it was going to happen or not. I was ready to pack my bags and go.

“Again, it’s a very sensitive subject to talk about. It’s very individual. You have to respect the decision of an individual, especially of somebody in his position. Of course he’s one of the favourites to win this trophy. He played really well last season. But he understands there are some other priorities in life. I’m glad he’s thinking that way. I wish his wife and him all the best.”

Djokovic is bidding to win his sixth Australian Open title and 11th Grand Slam overall but first he must negotiate a tricky opener against promising 19-year-old South Korea’s Hyeon Chung today. Chung stretched world No 13 Marin Cilic in Brisbane last week before losing 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), and gave French Open champion Stan Wawrinka a stern workout at the US Open last year, succumbing after three tie-breaks.

“He’s one of the rising stars of the tennis world,” Djokovic said. “I haven’t seen him play too much. He wants to show to the world he deserves to be here and of course that makes it even trickier for me. I need to try to play with the right intensity from the very beginning.”