Novak Djokovic defeated Roberto Carballes Baena in three sets to record his 35th consecutive victory in Australia. The Spaniard played an excellent match, but after fighting hard in the first and second sets he completely collapsed in the third.
The Serbian closed with a resounding 6-0 and only lost four points in the last set. Djokovic’s return to Melbourne, after being forced to miss the Australian Open due to his visa being revoked, was seamless and the reception from the public was as warm as ever.
“I really liked the reaction of the people. I was well received on the pitch, especially by the Serbian community, which is very large in Australia. I received a lot of support and love. I couldn’t have asked for a better start in terms of support,” Djokovic told a press conference.
“The leg is fine. He is not at his best yet, he has not reached ideal form, but he is getting there. Today was a really good test. I haven’t trained much in recent days from a tennis point of view. I really expected things to go well on the track from the first point to the last, and it did.
I am very glad that I felt better as the game progressed. The third set was great. It is a good signal. I tried my leg. At first I was a bit stiff, even mentally. I wanted to protect this discomfort. So it took me a while to really get into the game.
I also had to adapt to my opponent’s playing style. It had been a long time since I had faced him. He served and played well, especially in the second set. Towards the end of the second set, however, I leveled up. I am very happy to have finished the game like this.
End of association with Ulises Badio? It was a shame that he couldn’t continue this adventure, but it was a decision made by both parties.”
Djokovic got off to a good start
Novak Djokovic was asked in his last press conference about an interesting topic that is causing some debate in this 2023 Australian Open: the new Dunlop balls used.
The Serbian has no doubts: they are slower than in previous years. “The balls have changed this year. They are different: the more exchanges and more playing time, the ball gets bigger or hairier, and it is slower. I have seen that Popyrin has been in the game for four hours, that Ruud has played for three and a half hours.
I think we are going to see longer games this year, and one of the main reasons is probably the ball. I don’t think the speed of the court has changed much: the outside courts are quite fast, the stadiums a bit slower, but the ball is slower and that affects the game”.
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