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 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 court docket at 10:30pm on Tuesday, then set to work by enjoying properly and solely briefly displaying 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 approach 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 group in an on-court interview. I am very pleased 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 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 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 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 return to the nation, and likewise waived a rule that might have barred him from coming into for 3 years after the visa was revoked.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 your complete episode in January 2022 affected him deeply however he doesn’t maintain a grudge; There definitely did not appear to be any laborious 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 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 robust sufficient to take step one in the direction of what he hopes can be his twenty second Grand Slam title to tie his opponent. Rafael NadalThe document 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.
Thiem, runner-up on the Australian Open in 2020 and winner of the US Open the identical 12 months, missed 2021 because of accidents however has recovered from outdoors the highest 350 final 12 months to a spot inside the highest 100. College entry by event organizers.
“While you see that you must play towards Dominic, you understand it isn’t going to be simple. I do know he is going by way of some powerful occasions, so I want him all the most effective to get again to the extent he may be as shortly as attainable,” stated Rublev.
Thiem had a therapy for his abs halfway by way of the second set however stated 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 stated. “I hope I can enhance the outcomes on the South American clay.”
“I am going to really feel it – this night and tomorrow,” stated Murray. “However in the meanwhile I’m very pleased. Very pleased with myself.”
This was the three-time important champion’s first victory over a top-20 opponent in a Grand Slam event since 2017.
The Related Press contributed to this report.