Adelaide International 2023: Novak Djokovic earns first win in Australia since deportation
Adelaide International 2023: Novak Djokovic is back in Australia, competing in the ATP 250 event as a warm-up for the Australian Open 2022. He defeated Constant Lestienne and won his first match Down Under since his deportation last year.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia is back in Australia and played his first game in the country in two years and his deportation fiasco last year. Participating in the 2023 Adelaide International, an ATP 250 warm-up event for the 2023 Australian Open, the 21-time Grand Slam champion was up against Constant Lestienne of France in the opening round, where the former won convincingly 6-3, 6-2. He has qualified for the pre-quarters, where he would face another Frenchman, Quentin Halys, on Wednesday. He was vibrant as the crowd enjoyed his impervious groundstrokes, which possessed accuracy and depth. He won 44% of his opponent's first serve return, thus winning the contest within 75 minutes.
It is the first time since 2007 that Djokovic is playing in Adelaide, while he won the title back when he was 19. He would be eyeing a similar feat again as he prepares and eyes his record-extending tenth AO title in Melbourne later this month. "For the first match, I can't complain. I played very well," he said post victory.
"I thought the first six games were very competitive, and I had never faced him before. He is a counterpuncher. He doesn't make too many mistakes. He has a tricky serve and hits his spots. But, once I made that break at 3-2 in the first set, I thought I stepped it up and played perfect tennis for the rest of the match," added Djokovic.
"Seeing the packed house for my first match was a delightful surprise and lots of support and love. That motivated me and allowed me to express myself best on the court with my game. I thought I played an excellent, competitive start. I think for six games, we were close. He also had a break-point. I managed to play solid in important moments and got rewarded with the break, and after that, I didn't look back. I played well in the second set," Djokovic concluded.