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 enjoying nicely 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 approach to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over 75. Roberto Karpeles Baena which ended after midnight.
“Unbelievable ambiance,” Djokovic advised the group 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 glad 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 match of 2023. It is 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 bought the photographs 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to the nation, and likewise waived a rule that would have barred him from getting into for 3 years after the visa was revoked. He has insisted that all the episode in January 2022 affected him deeply however he doesn’t maintain a grudge; There actually 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 stored yelling and muttering at 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 probably 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 primary within the ATP rankings than anybody else, additionally has an opportunity to return to that place after the following two weeks. the one who at the moment occupies that seat, Carlos AlcarazHe missed the Australian Open resulting from a leg harm.
Thiem, runner-up on the Australian Open in 2020 and winner of the US Open the identical yr, missed 2021 resulting from 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 you must play in opposition to Dominic, you already know it isn’t going to be simple. I do know he is going via some powerful occasions, so I want him all the most effective to get again to the extent he may be as rapidly as potential,” mentioned Rublev.
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 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.”
“I will really feel it – this night and tomorrow,” mentioned Murray. “However in the mean time I’m very glad. Very pleased with myself.”
This was the three-time important champion’s first victory over a top-20 opponent in a Grand Slam match since 2017.
The Related Press contributed to this report.