Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s road to redemption at the Australian Open is off to a great start.
The 35-year-old, who was unable to play the Grand Slam down under last year due to his unvaccinated status, made light work of his opponent, Spain’s Roberto Carballés Baena, in the first round, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in just over two hours.
"I felt very welcome on the court, especially the Serbian community that is big here in Australia has welcomed me in an incredible way. So much support. So much love," Djokovic said after the match.
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There is a lot on the line for Djokovic, who is now one match closer to winning his 10th Australian Open singles title, regaining the world No. 1 position and tying Rafael Nadal for most singles Grand Slams at 22.
"They're just numbers in the end of the day," Djokovic said. "I've been in the situations before where I've played for some really big historic things, and I've been blessed to have I would say more success than failures in those particular situations."
Djokovic’s serve played a key part in the dominant performance, winning 84% of his first serve points and 70% of his second serve points. He also converted five of nine break points.
In the second round, Djokovic is set to take on the winner of France's Enzo Couacaud and Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien.