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 Area, giving a standing ovation marking his return to the Australian Open – a event he as soon as dominated however was unable to enter a 12 months 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 enjoying properly 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 technique to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over 75. Roberto Karpeles Baena which ended after midnight.

“Unbelievable ambiance,” Djokovic advised the gang in an on-court interview. “Thanks a lot for staying up late, everybody. Additionally, thanks for giving me such a welcome and reception that I can solely dream of.” I am very blissful 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 without doubt one of the highlights of the primary Grand Slam event 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 towards COVID-19.

He by no means obtained 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back to the nation, and likewise waived a rule that might have barred him from coming into for 3 years after the visa was revoked. He has insisted that the complete episode in January 2022 affected him deeply however he doesn’t maintain a grudge; There actually did not appear to be any exhausting 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 stored yelling and muttering at 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 the direction of what he hopes will probably be his twenty second Grand Slam title to tie his opponent. Rafael NadalThe file for probably the most quantity within the historical past of tennis by a person.

Djokovic, who has spent extra weeks at primary within the ATP rankings than anybody else, additionally has an opportunity to return to that place after the following two weeks. the one that at the moment occupies that seat, Carlos AlcarazHe missed the Australian Open resulting from a leg damage.

Within the match that ended after 1 am, the second seed, the two-time finalist Casper Highwaybypass 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 12 months, missed 2021 resulting from accidents however has recovered from outdoors the highest 350 final 12 months to a spot inside the highest 100. College entry by event organizers.

“Whenever you see that it’s a must to play towards Dominic, it is not going to be straightforward. I do know he is going via some powerful instances, so I want him all the very best to get again to the extent he may 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 critical and he wasn’t discouraged by his efficiency.

“This event would not change something, as a result of I confronted a very powerful opponent,” he mentioned. “I hope I can enhance the outcomes on the South American clay.”

later tuesday, Britain’s Andy Murray35, achieved his greatest 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 am going to really feel it – this night and tomorrow,” mentioned Murray. “However in the intervening time I’m very blissful. Very happy with myself.”

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

Will meet Murray subsequent Thansi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini. Their match tonight with Kokkinakis is about 5 factors wanting successful.

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 got here ahead on 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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