Novak survived a scorching Melbourne summer’s day and an early challenge from Gael Monfils on Thursday to reach the Australian Open third round. The 30-year-old Serbian star rallied from a set down to beat the Frenchman 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Novak marked his return to competitive play on Tuesday afternoon with an impressive display of power tennis and excellent movement. Competing for the first time since Wimbledon 2017, Djokovic moved past Donald Young 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
Novak, a record six–time AO titlist, is set to play in his first tour event after Wimbledon last summer. The 30-year-old Serbian star is no.14 seed and will open campaign against world no.63 Donald Young (USA). It will be their third career meeting (2-0 H2H).
"I'm smilling, inside and outside. I just love this sport so much," the 12-time Grand Slam champion said. “I was waiting for this moment for six months to get out on the court and play a match. I got a great opponent today, the No. 5 in the world, so it was a fantastic test for me to see where I am. So glad to be back and so nice to start in a country and a city where I have the greatest memories.”
Top seed and five-time defending champion will open campaign in his 12th Australian Open appearance against world no.51, Hyeon Chung.
The world no.1 beat no.6 seed 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0 to win an eighth major, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi in fifth place on the Open Era major titles list.
The top seed advanced into the Australian Open fourth round with a 7-6 (8), 6-3, 6-4 win over no.31 seed Fernando Verdasco on Saturday.