Novak Djokovic made a winning return to the U.S. Open, rolling to a 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Alexandre Muller on Monday night.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion shook off a late start after an opening-night ceremony, racing through the first set in 23 minutes.
“I didn’t care if I started after midnight because I was looking forward to this moment for few years, to be out on the biggest stadium in our sport, the loudest stadium in our sport, playing night session,” Djokovic said. “It was a great joy to be stepping out on the court.
“I think the performance explains how I felt tonight, particularly in the first two sets. It was kind of lights-out tennis really, almost flawless, perfect first set. Overall I’m very, very pleased with the way I feel, with the way I’m playing. Hopefully, I can maintain that level,” he added.
Djokovic missed the tournament last year, not allowed to travel to the US because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. It was his first match in Flushing Meadows since falling to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 final, a loss that prevented the Serbian from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969.
Djokovic improved to 17-0 in first-round matches at the U.S. Open and assured he will regain the No. 1 ranking on Sept. 11. It will be his 390th week atop the rankings, extending his own record.
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