Novak Djokovic won his first tennis match of the season in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Djokovic defeated Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 to progress to the second round.
“All in all, it’s a straight-sets win, so of course I have to be satisfied with my tennis; especially after not playing for two-and-a-half, three months,” Djokovic said.
“Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that [in my] first match after a while.
“I’m glad that I managed to finish out the job tonight in straight sets against a very talented player from Italy who possesses a lot of quality.
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“Of course, he didn’t have much to lose and in windy conditions [it was] a bit tricky to play. But all in all, a very, very pleasant experience for me tonight.”
Djokovic made a few errors but there were moments when his class shone. One of those was when he rescued four break points in the second set.
He held serve to keep the second set’s score at 4-2 and held serve to claim the second set – and the match.
“I was fortunate to find the right serves on those break points I faced in the sixth game of the second set. That gave me huge relief obviously for the rest of the match.”
Djokovic’s main focus will be to retain his number 1 ranking for now. He is under threat from Daniil Medvedev, who beat the Serb in the 2021 US Open final.
Afterwards, Djokovic looked happy at the way he was received at Dubai. And the best way for him to put the Australian Open 2022 controversy behind him is to win plenty of matches.
But the controversy seems unlikely to die down any time soon. In an interview with BBC, Djokovic said he would rather miss matches than get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Given the French Open is expected to be open to vaccinated players only, he might end up missing another Grand Slam.