Novak Djokovic gallery: World No 1 makes winning return to action in Dubai following Australian drama

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Novak Djokovic at the end of a match

The long wait is over for Novak Djokovic as he made his return to competitive tennis at the Dubai Tennis Championships, with his Australian visa debacle a distant memory as he made a winning comeback.

The world No 1 was denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title in January after his visa was cancelled and it forced him to delay his start to the 2022 season.

But he finally got it underway in the Middle East.

Novak Djokovic attends a press conference
It was a pleasant start to his week in Dubai as Novak Djokovic admitted that he received a warm welcome ahead of the ATP 500 event, even joking with the media.

Before he could get back on the court, the 20-time Grand Slam winner had to do the traditional per-tournament press conference and, as usual, he handled it like a pro.

Novak Djokovic talks to the media in Dubai
There were some serious moments during his press conference as it was the first time he had taken questions from the media since his deportation from Australia.

Naturally there media was going to ask the difficult questions as the Australia saga made international headlines, but Djokovic played with a straight bat.

Novak Djokovic in action
Once on the court, it didn’t take him too long to settle into his usual rhythm against Lorenzo Musetti with his world-famous slide soon on display.

It was a fully-focused Nole once the action got underway against Lorenzo Musetti as he quickly pulled out some of his best shots against the Italian.

Novak Djokovic on the run during a match
The Serbian gets the skates on during his first match in nearly four months. It was good to be back on court and he didn’t miss too many opportunities against Musetti.

His legs got a good workout even though the match was a brief one as it was just over an hour long with a break of serve in each set enough to earn the win.

Novak Djokovic at the changeover
Just the mere fact that he was out on court again meant the world to Djokovic. He certainly soaked in every moment.

It was good to enjoy the simply things on the court again, like the changeover to gather his thoughts was a moment to savour after such a long absence.

Novak Djokovic in action
The feeling of the ball hitting the racket was quite sweet for Djokovic. And even a change of shirts didn’t make a difference to his display.

It was a typical Djokovic performance as there were not too many signs of rustiness as he dominated the young Italian from start to finish.

Novak Djokovic at the end of a match
A moment of pure joy for Djokovic as he experienced that winning feeling again as he won his first competitive match in the Davis Cup Finals in December.

And then the relief was clear for all to see as Djokovic secured his first victory over the 2022 season with an excellent display against Musetti.

Celebrations for Novak Djokovic
And the five-time Dubai champion’s much-loved celebration also made a return as he said thanks to those who came out to support him.

Some love it, some hate it, but Djokovic was always going to thank the fans in the Dubai stands with his traditional “thank you” celebration.

Lorenzo Musetti and Novak Djokovic at the end of the match
It was a good start to the campaign for the Serbian as he eased past Musetti, winning 6-3, 6-3 to book his place in the second round of the ATP 500 event.

One hour and 14 minutes were all it took for Djokovic to see off Musetti and secure his place in the second round of the Dubai tournament.

Novak Djokovic after a match
He got another chance to thank the spectators during his on-court interview and admitted his return was a “very, very pleasant experience”.

He was a tad emotional during his interview after the match, but it was certainly a welcome experience for Djokovic following his recent woes.

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