Novak Djokovic gallery: World No 1 makes winning return to action in Dubai following Australian drama
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.
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.
Naturally there media was going to ask the difficult questions as the Australia saga made international headlines, but Djokovic played with a straight bat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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