Novak Djokovic makes his big return in small arena as he ends an unwanted run

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic ready for action
Novak Djokovic relishes the challenge at the US Open

Novak Djokovic made his return to action at the Paris Masters and achieved something for the first time in 2023 as he ended an unwanted run. 

Heading into the event, the Serbian had lost all three of the doubles matches he had contested this year, but he has now ended a four-match losing streak in ATP doubles matches (not including Laver Cup) going back to 2021.

Djokovic and his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, who he is partnering in Paris, comfortably prevailed 6-4, 6-2 over Gonzalo Escobar and Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the opening round.

The match was played on Court 2 at the Accor Arena, a small stadium and somewhat surprising choice for Djokovic’s first match back from his break.

The Serbian pairing were set to face Jannik Sinner and Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday, but the combination of singles stars withdrew from the doubles event. The Italian and Swiss duo were replaced by the alternate pair of Escobar and Nedovyesov.

Djokovic and Kecmanovic were dominant from the start, breaking in the opening game and adding a second break to go up 4-1. Despite losing serve in the next game, the Serbians lost just two more service points as they routinely wrapped up the opening set.

The duo continued their supremacy in the second set as they again broke in the opening game and raced to a 4-1 lead, and this time they did not drop serve as they completed a convincing victory.

Since winning his 24th Grand Slam at the US Open, Djokovic had only featured at the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September prior to his appearance in Paris.

In helping Serbia progress to the knockout phase, Djokovic won his only singles match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and lost a doubles rubber with Nikola Cacic against the Czech Republic.

The 36-year-old could, therefore, benefit from the extra match practice from competing in the Paris doubles event as he looks to make a strong finish to the year.

Another reason for Djokovic partnering Kecmanovic may be that the duo are a potential doubles pairing for Serbia at the Davis Cup Finals, which will take place from November 21 to 26.

Serbia will face Great Britain in the quarter-finals of the international team competition, with the Finals stage to be played in Malaga. Djokovic has outlined that winning a second Davis Cup title for his nation is his biggest goal for the remainder of the season.

The world No 1 will face Tomas Martin Etcheverry in his opening match in the singles event in Paris on Wednesday, after the Argentine downed his doubles partner Kecmanovic prior to the pair’s doubles win on Tuesday.

READ MORE: WATCH: Novak Djokovic tells IShowSpeed he plays for AC Milan – and YouTuber hilariously believes him