“A devastating start.”
That’s how the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour website described the dominant performance of Novak Djokovic (36, World No. 2, Serbia) in his return to the U.S. Open after a two-year absence on Monday. The No. 2 seed defeated Alexandre Muller (26, World No. 84, France) 3-0 (6-0 6-2 6-3) in one hour and 35 minutes in the first round of the men’s singles competition at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. Djokovic was never in danger.
His movements were relaxed, as if he was playing a practice match. Mueller fought back with all his might, but he was no match for Djokovic. Even former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, who were in attendance, were impressed by his performance. “Back at the US Open, Djokovic was ruthless,” said Reuters. 토토사이트
Djokovic will face Bernabe Zapata Miralles (26, World No. 76, Spain) on Nov. 31 in the third round. With 23 career major titles, he is the all-time leader in the category and will be looking to cement his status as the ‘Greatest of All Time’ (GOAT) by breaking the record. Djokovic has won the US Open three times (2011, 15, 18). The US Open is the last major of the year (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon).
It’s been two years since Djokovic stepped on the court at the US Open. He missed the 2022 US Open because he hadn’t received a coronavirus vaccine and US health authorities refused to allow unvaccinated foreigners to enter the country. He was able to compete in this year’s tournament after U.S. health officials eased restrictions in May to allow unvaccinated foreigners to enter the country. The match started close to midnight local time and finished in the early hours of the next day due to the delay of earlier matches and events. Djokovic said: “The time of the match didn’t matter. “I’ve been excited to play on these courts again for a long time,” said Djokovic, “and I think my performance today showed how happy I was. It was a flawless performance.”
Djokovic will play a two-rounder against Carlos Alcaraz (23-World No. 1-Spain), the “new kid on the block” who stepped into his shoes last year. Alcaraz will play Dominik Koepfer (World No. 78-Germany) in the first round on Tuesday. Alcaraz won his first major title at the age of 19 at the 2022 US Open. Since then, he has been on a meteoric rise, reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open in May and winning his second major title at Wimbledon last month. In the Wimbledon final, he defeated Djokovic, who was trying to win his fifth straight title, to become the next “Emperor of Tennis”. The defeat was seen as the beginning of a downward spiral for Djokovic.
However, Djokovic has recently recovered from his ‘Wimbledon shock’. He avenged his Wimbledon loss with a 2-1 upset victory over Alcaraz in the final of the Cincinnati Open on May 21 after a three-hour, 49-minute battle. It evened their head-to-head record at 2-2. Alcaraz, the tournament’s top seed, and Djokovic will meet in the final. “It’s early in the tournament,” Djokovic said. I hope I can maintain my current (good) form until the end,” said Djokovic. South Korean tennis sensation Kwon Soon-woo (World No. 104) was knocked out in the first round on the same day by Christopher Eubanks (World No. 30-USA), 1-3 (3-6 4-6 6-0 4-6). The match marked Kwon’s return from injury after a six-month absence.