Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic made a winning return to the Australian Open on Tuesday with a straight-sets win over Roberto Carballes Baena at the Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic, who was banned and deported from the tournament last year due to his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine, beat the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in the first round to register his 22nd win in succession at the Australian Open.
American legend Andre Agassi holds the record for most wins in a row at AO with 25 in men’s tennis while 9-time women’s Grand Slam champion Monica Seles holds the overall record with 26.
“Thank you for giving me such a welcoming reception that I could only dream of,” said Djokovic, who is chasing a record-equalling 22nd major title.
“Definitely this court is the most special court in my life.”
@DjokerNole thanks the fans at Rod Laver Arena.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2023
“I feel really happy that I’m back here in Australia and on the court where I have had the biggest success in my career.
“Definitely this court is the most special court in my life and I couldn’t ask for a better start to the tournament,” the Serbian world No. 1 added.
Djokovic is chasing a record 10th title at the Australian Open. He’s now won 64 consecutive Round 1 matches at Grand Slams, which is the equivalent of 16 straight years without a loss.