Novak Djokovic opened the Australian Open comeback with a first round win

Melbourne, Australia – Supporting banners, dozens of Serbian flags and loud cheers Novak DjokovicHe crammed Rod Laver Enviornment, giving a standing ovation marking his return to the Australian Open – a match he as soon as dominated however was unable to enter a yr in the past.

Djokovic admitted to welcoming a fast left-hander when he took to the courtroom at 10:30pm on Tuesday, then set to work by taking part in effectively and solely briefly exhibiting a touch of hassle from his left hamstring. strongly registered.

He began the primary spherical match with a 125 mph jab and love, took management of that 12-point set and was on his strategy to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over 75. Roberto Karpeles Baena which ended after midnight.

“Unbelievable environment. Thanks a lot for staying up late, everybody. Additionally, thanks for giving me a welcome and a reception I can solely dream of,” Djokovic advised the gang in an on-court interview. I am very pleased to be again in Australia and again right here on the courtroom the place I’ve had the largest success of my profession. ”

Djokovic’s participation is among the highlights of the primary Grand Slam match of 2023. It is because Djokovic, 35, didn’t play a degree final season at Melbourne Park, the location of 9 of his main tournaments, as a result of his visa was banned and he was deported from Australia after the epic legally associated to not having any vaccine in opposition to COVID-19.

He by no means received the photographs and in addition missed the US Open due to it. However the Australian authorities has since eased coronavirus-related restrictions, permitting Djokovic to come back to the nation, and in addition waived a rule that might have barred him from getting into for 3 years after the visa was revoked. He has insisted that the whole episode in January 2022 affected him deeply however he doesn’t maintain a grudge; There definitely did not appear to be any onerous emotions for him on Tuesday.

This wasn’t essentially in Djokovic’s finest kind, and he appeared to point out some frustration early on as he stored staring and muttering within the path of coach Goran Ivanisevic and the remainder of his entourage within the stands. However Djokovic produced a tennis ball robust sufficient to take step one in direction of what he hopes will likely be his twenty second Grand Slam title to tie his opponent. Rafael NadalThe report for essentially the most quantity within the historical past of tennis by a person.

Djokovic, who has spent extra weeks at No. 1 within the ATP rankings than anybody else, additionally has an opportunity to return to that spot after the subsequent two weeks. the one that at the moment occupies that seat, Carlos AlcarazHe missed the Australian Open as a consequence of a leg damage.

Within the match that ended after 1 a.m., the second seed, he was a two-time main finalist Casper Streetbypass Thomas Meshack 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-3.

earlier within the day, Andrey Rublev Beat the wild card entry Dominic Tim 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the second spherical.

Thiem, runner-up on the Australian Open in 2020 and winner of the US Open the identical yr, missed 2021 as a consequence of accidents however has recovered from outdoors the highest 350 final yr to a spot inside the highest 100. College entry by match organizers.

“If you see that you must play in opposition to Dominic, you realize it isn’t going to be simple. I do know he is going by way of some robust instances, so I want him all the perfect to get again to the extent he may be as rapidly as attainable,” mentioned Rublev.

Rublev will subsequent play Australia within the qualifiers Max Purcell or Emil Rossovory Finland.

Thiem had a remedy for his abs halfway by way of the second set however mentioned it wasn’t severe and he wasn’t discouraged by his efficiency.

“This match does not change something, as a result of I confronted a extremely robust opponent,” he mentioned. “I hope I can enhance the outcomes on the South American clay.”

later tuesday, Britain’s Andy Murray35, achieved his largest victory in years 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6) throughout greater than 4 1/2 hours in opposition to Matteo Berettini.

“I am going to really feel it – this night and tomorrow,” mentioned Murray. “However for the time being I’m very pleased. Very pleased with myself.”

This was the three-time major champion’s first victory over a top-20 opponent in a Grand Slam match since 2017.

Will meet Murray subsequent Thansi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini. Their sport tonight with Kokkinakis suspended is 5 factors in need of a win.

Grigor DimitrovHe received the semifinals in Melbourne in 2017 Aslan Karatsev 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-2. He’ll take it upon himself Laszlo Djer Within the second spherical.

Among the many different males who utilized Tuesday was No. 8 Taylor Fritzquantity 9 Holger Ron and quantity 12 Alexander Zverev.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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