Five dead after boat sinks off Malaysia

Thirty-two people are missing and five are confirmed dead after an apparently overloaded boat carrying Indonesian illegal migrants headed home for Ramadan sank overnight in rough seas off western Malaysia.

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Officials said 60 people were rescued or made it to land by themselves after the accident around midnight near Port Klang, Malaysia’s largest port, as authorities intensify the search with nine ships and a helicopter.

“Thirty-two people are still missing. We have found five bodies comprising four men and one woman. They died due to drowning,” said Mohamad Hambali Yaakup, head of the Port Klang office of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

“Rough seas are making our rescue operation difficult. But we will continue the search until the remaining 32 people are found,” he said on Wednesday.

The boat sank not far from shore, raising hopes that many of the missing had made it to safety on their own, Mohamad Hambali added.

Officials believe 97 passengers were aboard the wooden boat, including some children.

Authorities said rescued passengers told them they were returning home to Indonesia across the Malacca Strait – the busy shipping lane between Malaysia and Indonesia’s Sumatra island – for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Officials had initially said the passengers were believed to be seeking to enter Malaysia.

“From interviews with those rescued, they said they were returning to Aceh (in northern Sumatra). They did not have any travel documents,” said Mohamad Hambali.

“As in previous years, many Indonesian migrants will be leaving Malaysia ahead of Ramadan.”

Around two million illegal immigrants – the vast majority of them from Indonesia – are estimated to be working in Malaysia.

Large numbers of them annually return home to Indonesia ahead of Ramadan, which begins around the end of June and will culminate in late July with Eid al-Fitr, Islam’s biggest festival.

“We believe the boat was overcrowded and the sea was rough during the incident,” Mohamad Hambali said.

Access to survivors was not immediately available as they have been taken into custody by police.

Tigers aim to tame the Sydney monster

When the AFL fixture list throws up Sydney, where do you start planning your defence?

It’s a question plaguing Richmond coach Damien Hardwick ahead of their Friday night’s clash with the Swans.

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Certainly not the midfield where Josh Kennedy is on track to challenge for the Brownlow.

“Kennedy is one of those guys, you can tag him as many times as you like but he still seems to find a way of getting 25 (disposals) and 10 (clearances),” he said.

“They’ve got quality players through there, Kieren Jack and these types… they’re just a formidable running machine.”

And not a forward line where Lance Franklin now struts his stuff.

“I think (Franklin’s) actually improved. It’s probably the first time we’ve seen him be a force in contested marking,” Hardwick said.

“You’ve got to make sure you monitor Buddy but then there’s also a very good player down there by the name of Adam Goodes… (Sam) Reid, all these other types.”

“Even across their half-forward line, the likes of (Jarrad) McVeigh who just seems to keep getting better year-in and year-out.

“A young kid by the name of Parker that’s really impressive.”

About the only factors pulling in the Tigers’ direction is their recent form against Sydney at the MCG, winning the past three, and a few Sydney absentees.

Hardwick was heartened by the “big outs” of Kurt Tippett and Dan Hannebery, doubting that Ben McGlynn would take his place in the Swans’ side.

He was also cautiously optimistic of taming the monster – with Alex Rance to be handed the job on Franklin.

“Alex has a pretty good record on Buddy the last couple of times he’s played but that by no means guarantees Buddy is going to have a quiet game,” he said.

With a 111-point belting of GWS their only win in seven matches, Hardwick was heartened by improvement in a key metric: the contested ball.

Seen by fans and coaches alike as a reading of hunger for the ball and skill under pressure, the Tigers shaded Fremantle last week despite a 20-point loss.

“That’s our challenge… the consistency is the point that we’ve been missing,” he said.

“We’ve got to outnumber as many contests as we can because that’s the key.”

Rebels-bound Shipperley joins Reds exodus

Dom Shipperley has joined the long line of backs leaving the Queensland Reds at season’s end, signing a two-year deal with Super Rugby rivals the Melbourne Rebels.

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The 23-year-old speedster is the club’s third recruit in as many days, having lured Waratahs winger Cam Crawford on Wednesday and Australian under-20s fullback Jonah Placid of the Reds 24 hours earlier.

Shipperley and Placid’s defection brings to five the number of backs who won’t be calling Ballymore home next year, with Mike Harris also to join the Rebels, Rod Davies moving to French outfit Biarritz and Aidan Toua headed for Agen.

The Reds are reportedly clearing the deck to sign former Wallabies back James O’Connor and codehopper Karmichael Hunt.

Shipperley has played 43 games for Queensland, scoring 13 tries in 43 Super Rugby appearances.

He has also represented Australia on three occasions at senior level and last played for the Wallabies in the 2012 Rugby Championship.

“I definitely want to get back into the Wallabies – it’s at the forefront of my goals and a big part of the reason why I’m moving,” Shipperley said on Thursday.

“A change of environment and a new way of looking at the game will hopefully benefit me and help in my aim of breaking back into the Australian team.”

The winger has never lived outside Brisbane, but will have plenty of familiar faces to help him settle in Melbourne – including two of his championship-winning Reds teammates from 2011, Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham and Harris, and fellow Australian schoolboy Luke Jones.

“I have been down a couple of times and Melbourne seems really vibrant; there’s always something happening,” he said.

“From the guys that I have talked to who moved down there, they have thoroughly enjoyed it and that was certainly part of the attraction with signing for the Rebels.”

Rebels coach Tony McGahan labelled the signing a coup for the young franchise.

“To sign a quality player like Dom, a Wallaby and a very experienced Super Rugby player with the ability to influence games, is fantastic,” McGahan said.

“His finishing ability is great. He is strong and athletic, and able to carry the ball well into close contact.

“His aerial work is strong, and those skills will help make the wing position down here in Melbourne a highly competitive position.”

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US sales helps lift 3P Learning profit

The United States is set to become one of the main stops on 3P Learning’s global excursion as demand for its educational software increases.

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The company behind online education tools Mathletics and Reading Eggs added 304,000 American licenses in 2013/14, a jump of more than 80 per cent, taking the regional total to 662,000.

Chief executive Tim Power said while 3P Learning’s outlook was excellent across the board, it sold more than 90,000 more licences in the US than originally expected.

“Our product is starting to virally spread into the government school market, outside our initial focus networked around Catholic and charter schools,” he said on Tuesday as 3P unveiled its full year earnings results.

“We’ve got pockets of schools so we’re starting to double down on our sales and start to get more aggressive.”

“The outlook is we are set to smash our US forecast by quite some margin.”

Product sales across all regions rose 21 per cent in 2013/14, but despite the increase it was still around 50,000 licenses short of expectations.

3P Learning has 4.7 million licenses world wide, with the Australian and New Zealand market accounting for more than half of total sales.

The company reported a statutory net profit of $5.1 million for 2013/14, its first earnings result since its debut on the Australian Securities Exchange in July.

Its pro-forma net profit, which makes adjustments for significant items, leapt to $8.5 million from $2.7 million, beating 3P’s prospectus forecast of $8.3 million.

Revenue rose to $36.5 million in the year to June 30, from $32 million, beating 3P’s prospectus forecast by $1.2 million.

Outside the United States, the company also has expansion plans for Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa and Abu Dhabi.

Shares in 3P were nine cents, or 3.7 per cent, higher at $2.50 at 1257 AEST.

HSU officials deny bullying, falsification

Health Services Union officials have rejected claims they falsified official tests and bullied staff, saying their accusers are politically motivated.

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Kimberley Kitching, general manager of the HSU Victoria No 1 Branch, told the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption that she had not illegally completed online workplace entry tests for union organisers, contradicting evidence already given at the commission by current and former union staff.

On Monday union staff alleged branch secretary Diana Asmar told them Ms Kitching would complete their Right Of Entry tests to gain crucial qualifications.

Evidence presented to the commission also showed seven Right of Entry tests were done from one computer on February 15, 2013, in some cases just one minute apart.

Ms Kitching denied Ms Asmar ever told staff that she would carry out the online tests.

“That conversation did not happen,” Ms Kitching said.

“I can also tell you that perhaps some of these witnesses are politically motivated.

“We have elections coming up and they may be motivated by malicious purposes.”

Ms Asmar also denied any improper handling of the tests, saying testimonies to the commission were “definitely untrue”.

The commission heard Ms Kitching was appointed general manager of the Victoria No 1 Branch of the HSU by Ms Asmar on a temporary basis, with an annual salary of between $110,000 and $120,000, after Ms Asmar was elected to the secretary role in late 2012.

Ms Kitching was later made a permanent employee.

The commission heard the general manager role was not advertised in 2012 and Ms Kitching provided her own job description.

Ms Asmar took up the secretary’s role after the former HSU East branch, headed by union whistleblower Kathy Jackson, was dissolved into three separate branches, including Victoria No 1, following the financial scandal that ultimately resulted in the jailing of former HSU president Michael Williamson.

Ms Kitching, a friend of Ms Asmar through Labor party circles, made an unsuccessful bid for preselection in the safe Labor seat of Gellibrand, previously occupied by former attorney-general Nicola Roxon.

Ms Kitching and Ms Asmar both told the commission on Tuesday that claims by branch assistant secretary Leonie Flynn that she was bullied and prevented from doing her job were untrue.

Breaking Bad strikes gold at Emmy Awards

Monday’s ceremony took a sombre turn as Robin Williams was remembered with restraint and grace by his longtime friend, Billy Crystal.

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“He made us laugh. Hard. Every time you saw him,” Crystal said of Williams at the conclusion of a tribute to industry members who died last year.

Bryan Cranston was honoured as best actor in a drama for Breaking Bad, proving that True Detective nominee Matthew McConaughey’s movie-star appeal couldn’t conquer all.

“I have gratitude for everything that has happened,” Cranston said. His victory ties him with four-time best drama actor champ Dennis Franz.

Cranston’s co-stars Aaron Paula and Anna Gunn were honoured in categories for best supporting acting in a drama series.

“Thank you for this wonderful farewell to our show,” Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said of the series about a teacher-turned-drug kingpin that ended with a bang.

The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies won the Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series.

“What a wonderful time for women on television,” Margulies said.

McConaughey was the object of too-handsome jokes by presenter Jimmy Kimmel and adoration by winner Gail Mancuso, honoured as best director for an episode of Modern Family.

“If you don’t mind, Matthew McConaughey, I’m gonna make eye contact with you right now,” she said from the stage, making good by holding the actor’s gaze for much of her speech.

The ceremony honouring the best of TV wasn’t shy about playing the movie-star card. “Six minutes to Woody Harrelson” flashed on screen during Colin Bucksey’s acceptance speech for best miniseries direction for Fargo.

Harrelson and his True Detective co-star were given time to banter before announcing that Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock: His Last Vow was the winner of the best miniseries actor award.

“So you won Oscar, (People magazine’s) Sexiest Man Alive and now you want an Emmy, too. Isn’t that a little bit greedy?” Harrelson teased his fellow nominee.

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Fargo was named best miniseries, and the award for best miniseries actress went to Jessica Lange for American Horror Story: Coven.

The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons was crowned as best comedy series actor, giving him his fourth Emmy and putting him in league with all-time sitcom winners Kelsey Grammer and Michael J. Fox.

Modern Family, which tied Frasier as the all-time comedy champ with five statuettes, also captured a best comedy supporting actor trophy for Ty Burrell.

Allison Janney was honoured as best supporting comedy actress for Mom, adding to the trophy she’d already picked up as guest actress on Masters of Sex.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who received her third consecutive best comedy actress Emmy for the political comedy Veep, drew big laughs as she stopped to exchange a heated kiss with Cranston, who once appeared with her on Seinfeld.

Can every #emmy category be a comedy category? The Julia Louis-Dreyfus / Bryan Cranston kiss. 南宁桑拿网,南宁夜生活,/WS2OTtsn7W via @GifBoomApp

— Robin Givhan (@RobinGivhan) August 26, 2014

Host Seth Meyers kicked off the ceremony by twitting his home network, NBC, and other broadcasters for being eclipsed in the awards by cable series and online newcomers like Orange Is the New Black.

Noting that the Emmys moved to Monday night to avoid a conflict with Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, he said that MTV doesn’t really specialise in videos anymore.

“That’s like network TV holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix. That would be crazy,” Meyers joked.

The ceremony’s traditional “in memorian” tribute to industry members who have died in the past year flashed images of stars including James Garner, Ruby Dee, Sid Caesar, Carmen Zapata and Elaine Stritch as singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles sang Smile. It concluded with the tribute to Williams.

‘Brightest star’: Billy Crystal pays moving tribute to Robin Williams at Emmys

 

Outpouring of grief for Robin WilliamsFavourite moments from Robin Williams careerFans remember Robin Williams

At the 66th Emmy Awards ceremony, clips of Williams in films, on stage and in talk shows were shown, finishing off with a portrait of him, followed by a stony silence in the blacked-out auditorium.

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Dressed in a dark suit and stood against a poignant black background, Crystal recalled their life and times together.  

“He made us laugh,” he said.

“I spent many happy hours onstage with Robin. His brilliance was stunning, the relentless energy breathtaking. I felt like if I could throw a saddle on him and stay on for eight seconds I was doing great.”

He told tales of happy times with Williams, who died on August 11, aged 63, of a suspected suicide.

Crystal recalled a conversation the star duo had about baseball.

“He could be funny anywhere,” said Crystal, who cut a serious but calm figure, and described Williams as “a genius,” as well as “the greatest friend you could ever imagine.”

“Supportive, protective, loving. It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in our lives. For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.

“But while some of the brightest of celestial bodies are actually extinct, their molten energy long since cooled, miraculously, because they float in the heavens so far away from us now, their beautiful light will shine on us forever.

“And the glow will be so bright, it will warm your heart and make your eyes glisten, and you’ll think to yourselves, Robin williams. What a concept.”

Newman re-signs, Tigers chase AFL finals

A sense of unfinished business and faith in his fitness has led Richmond veteran Chris Newman to extend his AFL career into a 15th season.

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Newman, who will play his 250th match when the Tigers’ finals hopes go on the line against Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, signed a one-year contract extension this week.

The 32-year-old admitted he harboured some doubts about the future when he suffered a calf injury against Geelong in round seven.

“I didn’t play a great game either and I was probably at my lowest point there,” Newman said on Tuesday.

“I thought, realistically, I probably wouldn’t go around again.

“But things have changed.”

Newman decided to play on a few weeks ago and coach Damien Hardwick gave it his blessing.

“My wife was getting a little bit sick of me coming home saying ‘yes, no, yes, no’,” the defender said, failing to rule out a 16th season.

“I needed to be confident my body could hold up and I’m really confident it will.

“It didn’t really sit comfortably with me – to walk away now. It just feels like we’ve got too much unfinished business.”

Newman has played in all of Richmond’s eight consecutive wins, which leaves the side needing victory over the ladder-leading Swans to seal a remarkable finals berth.

He debuted in 2002 and captained the Tigers for four seasons, but had to wait until 2013 to play his first final.

Richmond led at every break in that elimination final against Carlton, but not when it mattered.

Newman forecast success in the next 12 months for the club, but made it clear the f-word remained taboo this week at Punt Rd Oval.

“It’s really hard to talk about finals when we have to get the job done this week (to play finals),” Newman said.

“Every week (over the past two months) has felt like an elimination final, we couldn’t afford to lose any more games.

“We can’t get overawed by the occasion and what it means.

“We need to play the way we’ve been playing the last eight weeks to have any sort of chance.”

Newman said the distraction of playing the Swans in such an important match means he has given the upcoming milestone little thought.

“I feel extremely blessed to have played 250 games at this club. I’ll reflect on it when I’m finished,” he said, adding that Richmond can’t afford to play “emotional football” on the weekend.

ICAC hears of nice guys and Saints

Eric Roozendaal invited Nathan Tinkler and his Buildev lieutenants to V8 supercar races in 2010, and they wined and dined the then NSW treasurer at an upscale Sydney restaurant three months later.

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But the co-founder of the development firm, David Sharpe, told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that Mr Roozendaal was just a “nice guy” – not a key player in Buildev’s push to get a lucrative coal-loader over the line.

The ICAC heard Mr Roozendaal invited top Buildev executives to join him at the Sydney 500 races in late 2010 as Mr Sharpe was “speaking to Mr Roozendaal directly” about a rival to its coal-loader plan.

Just months later, Mr Sharpe was organising a lunch with Mr Roozendaal at Sake Restaurant in The Rocks.

In one email to colleagues he described a meeting with Mr Roozendaal as “one of the most important Buildev has had”.

But he appeared to downplay the importance of the relationship during evidence on Tuesday.

“We thought Mr Roozendaal was a nice guy,” Mr Sharpe told counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC.

He also denied Mr Roozendaal’s one-time Labor cabinet colleague, corrupt ex-MP Joe Tripodi, had anything to gain by offering Buildev strategic advice and property tips.

In one email, the fallen powerbroker offered a heads-up about land in southwestern Sydney, including details about its zoning and proximity to a planned rail line, and the likelihood that NSW government developer Landcom would “come knocking to buy” it.

But Mr Sharpe said there was no payoff in store for Mr Tripodi, prompting an incredulous Mr Watson to ask: “What, (he offered this information) out of the goodness of his heart – Saint Joseph of Tripodi?”

The inquiry continues.

Studies of chimps, human may be ‘flawed’

Comparing chimpanzees and humans without considering their upbringing is like comparing a child brought up in a loving family to one brought up in a Romanian orphanage, according to researchers studying primate behaviour.

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Professor Kim Bard, from the University of Portsmouth’s centre for comparative and evolutionary psychology and Dr David Leavens, of the University of Sussex, are calling for a fairer design for studies comparing humans and chimpanzees that takes their background into account.

They also say that some previous studies may need to be re-examined and could be flawed.

Prof Bard said: “Ignoring development is a real problem because primates and their social cognition develop as a result of their social and emotional experiences.”

According to Prof Bard, studies that do not take rearing into account have three major flaws.

The first is mistaking group-specific differences as “species” differences, the second is a lack of consideration of development in non-human primates and the third is only using one human group, usually from rich families in developed countries, and treating them as representative of all humans, even though they are not.

“For human infants we have known for decades that engagement with social partners and objects are essential developmental precursors for joint attention, ” Prof Bard said.

“For chimpanzees, we have known for decades that outcomes vary as a function of developmental experiences, but these developmental effects in apes have generally been ignored in theory building.

“We cannot base our scientific conclusions on flawed research designs, and argue that it would be difficult or cost more money to use a balanced research sample. That is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers, whose report is published in the Annual Review of Anthropology, have proposed a new model for ensuring that developmental experiences are appropriately considered by taking into account a more diverse range of rearing environments.

Prof Bard added: “We really don’t know very much about what chimpanzees are really capable of, since many of the recent studies have used institutionally-reared apes, who certainly are not the best representatives of the species.”

Leaked paper clarifies metadata proposal

The government’s controversial metadata-retention scheme could include Australians’ upload and download volumes and financial information.

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But destination IP addresses and URLs, which could be used to track people’s web browsing habits, will not be retained.

That’s according to a wishlist drawn up by the Attorney-General’s department as part of confidential preliminary discussions with telcos on the proposed measures.

The wishlist, obtained by The Australian newspaper, is the best articulation of the type of data that telcos would be required to collect and store for two years for warrantless access by government agencies.

It reportedly says telcos should retain records that would identify the names and addresses of account holders, as well as data to identify the source of a communication and the device used.

Information about when and where communications begin and end is also retained, as is information that would reveal how much data users are uploading and downloading.

The paper also suggests the scheme should be able to capture supplementary information such as birth dates and financial and billing records, the newspaper reports.

The proposal got off to a rocky start earlier this month when Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis struggled to explain the kinds of information that would and would not be retained.

That prompted ASIO and the Australian Federal Police to publicly clarify the types of data that would likely be included.

It remains unclear whether data kept by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be included in the scheme.

Murray, Djokovic advance at US Open

Spinning in 70 mph second serves, grabbing at his hamstring during points, Andy Murray gritted his way through head-to-toe cramps to win at the US Open.

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Murray outlasted Robin Haase 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 1-6 7-5 in the first round on a Monday afternoon that was hot but not particularly humid.

He was mystified that the cramps came on so early – at the start of the third set after only about an hour-and-a-half on court.

“When it starts to kind of go everywhere, you don’t know exactly where it’s going to creep up next,” he said.

“When you stretch one muscle, something else then cramps too.”

It started in the back of his left shoulder, and then quickly spread to his forearm.

The right-handed Murray couldn’t toss the ball high enough to get any pace on his serves.

Between points, he’d twist his body to awkwardly stretch his left side. After hitting a winner, he’d reach for his quad.

Murray was twice down a break in the fourth set, but the 70th-ranked Haase unravelled with a string of unforced errors. He wasted three break points in the final game, when a missed call also cost him.

The eighth-seeded Murray had felt confident in his conditioning after productive training sessions in Miami, where he weathered far more heat and humidity than this. He wondered if something was amiss in his nutrition.

“Cramping in my left forearm?” a bewildered Murray said. “I mean, I didn’t use my left forearm a whole lot today.”

Haase, also bothered by some cramping, said he didn’t eat and drink enough beforehand because of an earlier-than-expected start – the first match on Louis Armstrong Stadium lasted just 47 minutes. But Murray said dehydration didn’t seem to be his problem.

There were no such struggles for top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who breezed past US Open novice Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-2 6-4.

Djokovic wrapped up the final match on opening day at the year’s last Grand Slam event as the hour grew late, with fans calling out to him from the far-away seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I hope it was a midnight delight for all you guys,” he told them in an on-court interview.

Ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also needed four sets to beat Juan Monaco 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1.

Julien Benneteau, seeded 24th, was upset in five sets by fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire.

Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka and fifth-seeded Milos Raonic both advanced in straight sets.

Family man Djokovic ready to focus on U.S. Open

The Wimbledon champion, who won only two matches on the North American hard courts after getting married days after his All England Club triumph last month, sprinted to victory in 97 minutes.

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“I’m very pleased,” Djokovic told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after the one-sided win. “It’s never easy to start a U.S. Open smoothly.”

Seven-times grand slam winner Djokovic, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2011, made it look easy in a masterful display with 24 winners including seven aces against Schwartzman, who was playing his first tour-level match on the surface.

Djokovic admitted that he had struggled to get his mind on the game with all the changes in his life, including the expected arrival of their first child in a couple of months.

“I didn’t have much time to think about tennis with all this happening,” the 27-year-old Serb said. “It is a new chapter for my wife and I, and we are very excited.”

Djokovic, who has thrived on hard courts, with four Australian Open crowns on his resume, fell in the round of 16 in his two warm-up tournaments after receiving first-round byes.

“The last three weeks actually, Toronto and Cincinnati, were a bit tough emotionally for me,” he said. “I wasn’t finding my game. I wasn’t able to feel comfortable on the court.

“I probably was not mentally ready to still compete at a high level. But now it’s different. I feel emotionally recharged and ready to go.”

The Serbian world number one will next play Paul-Henri Mathieu of France, who was extended to five sets by Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in a match that included three tie-breaks.

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)