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 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 properly and solely briefly displaying 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 method 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 informed the gang in an on-court interview. I am very completely happy to be again in Australia and again right here on the courtroom the place I’ve had the most important success of my profession. ”

Djokovic’s participation is likely one of the highlights of the primary Grand Slam match of 2023. It is because Djokovic, 35, didn’t play some extent 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 towards COVID-19.

He by no means acquired the pictures and likewise 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back to the nation, and likewise waived a rule that might have barred him from getting into for 3 years after the visa was revoked.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 arduous emotions for him on Tuesday.

This wasn’t essentially in Djokovic’s greatest type, and he appeared to point out some frustration early on as he saved staring and muttering within the course of coach Goran Ivanisevic and the remainder of his entourage within the stands. However Djokovic produced a tennis ball sturdy sufficient to take step one in direction of what he hopes shall be his twenty second Grand Slam title to tie his opponent. Rafael NadalThe file 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 2020 Australian Open and winner of the US Open the identical yr, missed 2021 because of accidents however has recovered from outdoors the highest 350 final yr to a spot inside the highest 100. He was awarded a collegiate entry by match organizers.

“While you see that it’s a must to play towards Dominic, you understand it isn’t going to be simple. I do know he is going via some powerful occasions, so I want him all one of the best to get again to the extent he might be as rapidly as potential,” mentioned Rublev.

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

Thiem had a therapy for his abs halfway via 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 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 towards Matteo Berettini.

“I will really feel it – this night and tomorrow,” mentioned Murray. “However in the meanwhile I’m very completely happy. Very pleased with myself.”

This was the three-time most important 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 gained 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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