Novak Djokovic was greeted with loud cheers on the return of Australian Open competition at Rod Laver Arena

Novak Djokovic celebrated a rousing reception at the Rod Laver Arena on his return to the Australian Open on Tuesday. As the nine-time champion entered the pitch for his first-round match against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, he was greeted with loud cheers from a crowd of fans with Serbian flags and Djokovic cutouts/posters.

Djokovic, who played a training match against Nick Kyrgios at Rod Laver Arena last Friday, stepped onto the pitch for his first official game at the Australian Open since his 2021 final win over Daniil Medvedev.

You can watch the Serb’s contribution here:

Before starting his campaign in Melbourne, Djokovic had concerns about the reception he would get from the crowds at his most successful Major. After receiving a very warm and positive welcome from fans during his Adelaide International 1 campaign, the 35-year-old expressed hope of receiving a similar reaction when he returns to the Australian Open.

“I was a bit curious about how I would be received in Adelaide,” the Serb said in a recent Channel Nine interview. “The reception was fantastic. I had a fantastic tournament, had tremendous support – [a] Sold-out house every game.

“[But] I do not know [about Melbourne], but I hope positive. I really hope that the crowd will welcome me well, I think. It’s something I can’t predict, I don’t know,” he added.

The reception during his training match against Kyrgios and on Tuesday in particular must certainly have eased his worries a lot.

Fear of injury still worries Novak Djokovic as he retires from the opening match at the 2023 Australian Open

The Serbian superstar in action at the 2023 Australian Open.
The Serbian superstar in action at the 2023 Australian Open.

In his otherwise very positive preparation for the Australian Open 2023, a hamstring injury was a cause for concern for Novak Djokovic. He even canceled a few training sessions in the last few days leading up to the tournament. The former world No. 1 walked into Rod Laver Arena for his match against Carballes Baena on Tuesday with heavy bandages around his left thigh.

However, the Serbian star himself has allayed major concerns by hinting that his injury is not a major concern. His movements early in Tuesday’s game weren’t alarming either. So it will be interesting to see how the Niggle holds up as he plays more tennis.

The stakes are high for the 21-time Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open 2023. He is bidding for a record-breaking 22nd Grand Slam singles title and to become only the second man in history to win the same Grand Slam singles tournament at least 10 times.

Rafael Nadal’s outfit for the Australian Open 2023 uncovered

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Edited by Aayush Majumdar



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