Sports

Novak Djokovic gets first win in 2023 in Adelaide International 1 tennis tournament

Novak Djokovic in competing his first singles match of the season Tuesday overcome Frenchman Constant Lestienne 6-3, 6-2 and reach the second round at the Adelaide International 1.

“For the first match I can’t complain,” Djokovic said. “I played very well. I thought the first six games were very competitive and I have never faced him before. He is a counterpuncher, he doesn’t make too many mistakes. He has a tricky serve, hits his spots. But once I made that break at 3-2 in the first set I thought I stepped it up and played really good tennis for the rest of the match.”

With a packed crowd watching on, Djokovic moved through the gears, striking his watertight groundstrokes with consistent depth and accuracy to take early control.

The 35-year-old was also strong on return, winning 44 per cent (17/39) of points on his opponent’s first serve to triumph after 75 minutes in his first ATP Head2Head meeting against World No. 65 Lestienne.

The top seed is making his first tour-level outing in Adelaide since 2007, when he won the trophy aged 19. Djokovic will continue his title quest at the ATP 250 event when he plays Quentin Halys.

“To see the packed house for my first match was definitely a very pleasant surprise, and lots of support, lots of love. That obviously motivated me and allowed me to express myself in the best possible way on the court with my game,” Djokovic said.

“I thought I played very solid, competitive start. I think for six games, we were kind of close. He had also break point. I managed to play solid in important moments and got rewarded with the break, and after that I didn’t look back. I played really well in the second set.”

Djokovic is competing on Australian soil for the first time since 2021. Later this month, he will compete at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where he has lifted the trophy a record nine times.

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