Novak Djokovic soaked up thunderous applause in his first match back at the Australian Open after last year’s deportation drama, as the nine-times champion outclassed Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3 6-4 6-0 on Tuesday in a flawless start to his title bid.
Returning to Melbourne Park where the prolific Serbian was denied a title defence in 2022 after being sent home amid public fury for not having a Covid-19 vaccination, Djokovic saved three early break points to win the first set as fans sang his name.
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“I felt very welcome on the court, especially the Serbian community that is big here in Australia has welcomed me in an incredible way. So much support. So much love,” Djokovic told reporters.