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 stuffed Rod Laver Area, 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 court docket at 10:30pm on Tuesday, then set to work by taking part in nicely and solely briefly exhibiting a touch of bother 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 instructed the gang in an on-court interview. I am very completely happy to be again in Australia and again right here on the court docket the place I’ve had the largest success of my profession. ”

Djokovic’s participation is likely one of the highlights of the primary Grand Slam match of 2023. It’s because Djokovic, 35, didn’t play some extent final season at Melbourne Park, the positioning 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 obtained 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 return to the nation, and in addition waived a rule that might have barred him from coming into for 3 years after the visa was revoked.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 greatest type, and he appeared to indicate 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 the direction of what he hopes will probably 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 who at the moment occupies that seat, Carlos AlcarazHe missed the Australian Open because 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 because of accidents however has recovered from exterior the highest 350 final yr to a spot inside the highest 100. College entry by match organizers.

“If you see that it’s a must to play in opposition to Dominic, you recognize it is not going to be simple. I do know he is going by way of some powerful occasions, so I want him all one of the best to get again to the extent he could be as rapidly as attainable,” mentioned Rublev.

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

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

“This match does not change something, as a result of I confronted a extremely powerful 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 will really feel it – this night and tomorrow,” mentioned Murray. “However in the intervening time I’m very completely happy. Very pleased with myself.”

This was the three-time foremost 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 recreation tonight with Kokkinakis suspended is 5 factors wanting 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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