Novak Djokovic kicked off his ATP tour on a high after defeating Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets amid a loud cheer from the crowd at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis stadium on Monday. (More Tennis News)
"I couldn't ask for a better reception. It's been a while since I played the last match, I couldn't pick a better place to kickstart the season," said Djokovic, who is chasing his sixth title at Dubai Tennis Championships.
"Best possible experience tonight, thanks very much for your support and welcoming me on court the way you did," he added.
An unvaccinated Djokovic is being able to play at the Dubai Tennis Championships, thanks to the eased restrictions of the United Arab Emirates, which doesn’t ask for a COVID jab to enter the country.
Djokovic defeated the Italian teenager Musetti 6-3, 6-3. The world number 1 was not at his very best, but he made sure he performed when it mattered the most, saving all seven break points
“All in all, it’s a straight-sets win, so of course I have to be satisfied with my tennis, especially after not playing for two-and-a-half, three months,” Djokovic was quoted as saying on ATP Tour's website after the game on Monday.
“Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that (in my) first match after a while.
“I’m glad that I managed to finish out the job tonight in straight sets against a very talented player from Italy who possesses a lot of quality. Of course, he didn’t have much to lose and in windy conditions (it was) a bit tricky to play. But all in all, a very, very pleasant experience for me tonight."
Djokovic's opponent in the second round in Dubai will be the winner of the game between Russian Karen Khachanov and Australian Alex de Minaur. He would also be keeping an eye on Daniil Medvedev who is threatening to take away the No. 1 rank from him.