Novak recorded his first victory for the Team Falcons at the World Tennis League.

The 21-time Grand Slam winner defeated Sebastian Ofner 6-7 (5), 6-0, 10-7, at Coca-Cola Arena, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Friday.

The Austrian had stepped in for Felix Auger-Aliassime.

After Ofner clinched the opening set in a tie-break, Djokovic stormed through the second set by breaking three times. The encounter was decided in the Champions tiebreak. Novak was leading 5-2, then the Austrian rallied to level at 7-all. The Serbian start won the last three points to seal the win.

Earlier on the day, the mixed doubles was won by Sania Mirza and Holger Rune against Paula Badosa and Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 4-6, 10-5, then Iga Swiatek beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-1, 6-3 in the women’s singles.

Final on Saturday will be contested by the Kites and the Hawks.

The exhibition was a great promotion of tennis, as well as a good preparation and warm up for Adelaide and Melbourne where Nole will kick off the 2023 season.

Novak will make his return to Australian soil in Adelaide (ATP 250), at the Adelaide International 1 from 1 to 8 January. In 2007, Djokovic beat Australian Chris Guccione 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to win the Adelaide International tennis tournament.

The first Grand Slam event in 2023 will take place in Melbourne from January 16 to January 29. Novak lifted the Australian Open trophy for an unprecedented ninth time in 2021, following a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final. He missed the 2022 edition due to the COVID-19-related Australian border restrictions.

Photos: Profimedia

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