World primary Novak Djokovic belatedly started his 2022 marketing campaign with a convincing 6-3 6-3 defeat of Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti on the Dubai Championships on Monday.
The 34-year-old confirmed no signal of rust or psychological baggage from the Australian Open visa saga that rocked the sports activities world, producing a sophisticated show to ease into the second spherical, afterwards describing it as a “pleasant experience.”
It was Djokovic’s first match this yr after his Australian Open hopes had been dashed when he was deported following an 11-day saga revolving round his choice to not have a COVID-19 vaccination and a controversial exemption he had been granted to play within the occasion.
Two court docket hearings had been required earlier than Djokovic was expelled on Jan. 16 having spent a number of days in a resort, with the nation’s immigration minister ruling he might gasoline anti-vaccine sentiment if allowed to compete.
Back on a tennis court docket of Dubai’s Aviation Club, Djokovic confirmed simply why he would have been favorite to win a tenth Australian Open crown and beat Rafa Nadal to a males’s report twenty first Grand Slam title.
After being cheered on to court docket by the late night time crowd, he moved by means of the gears, breaking Musetti’s serve within the fourth recreation of a routine first set.
Djokovic, watched by his entourage together with spouse Jelena, received an early break within the second set with a forehand winner.
He briefly wavered when serving at 3-2 and was pressured to save lots of break factors, however by no means appeared threatened as his supporters, many with Serbian flags, cheered his winners.
Djokovic crunched an excellent forehand winner within the remaining recreation and claimed victory on his first match level.
Even if he wins the Dubai title for a sixth time, he might lose his world primary rating this week ought to Russian Daniil Medvedev win the Acapulco title.
But for Djokovic, having fun with an ATP report 361st week as primary, that was the very last thing on his thoughts as he put one of many darkest episodes of his profession behind him.
“I couldn’t ask for a better reception. It’s been a while since I played the last match and I couldn’t pick a better place to kick-start the season,” Djokovic, who had not performed because the Davis Cup Finals in November, instructed followers after performing his trademark salute to all sides of the world.
Djokovic, who final week stated in a BBC he was not towards vaccines however was ready to overlook main tournaments somewhat than have one, could have a time without work earlier than dealing with both Russian Karen Khachanov or Australian Alex de Minaur.
Asked by reporters later how he had been obtained by his fellow gamers, he stated they’d been “very friendly.”
“Majority of them actually welcomed me and said it’s nice to see me back on the tour,” he stated. “That makes me feel great. I’m very thankful for that because having the kind of an understanding at least I would say, if not support from my peers and my colleagues, is very important to me because they are the people that I get to see sometimes more than my family.”
“I care greatly about the relationships that we have.”
While Djokovic has had no points being allowed to play in Dubai, he stated he at present will be unable to play at Indian Wells, due to strict vaccine legal guidelines within the United States.
“As of today I’m not able to play. But let’s see what happens. Maybe things change in the next few weeks.”
This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.