Novak Djokovic returned to the Rod Laver Arena after a year away and chased away the ghosts of physical problems with a strong victory. Everything remains the same. He doesn't always shine and he doesn't always resort to extra time, but against an opponent like Roberto Carballes Baena -a pure regular, who is decidedly more thorny than expected, at least during the first two sets- he plays the game he has to play but especially the one who wants to play.
Finding concreteness and, above all, continuity. Needless to say, he exchanges a lot, he often projects near the net and tries to vary as much as possible in long exchanges to wear down the Spaniard. The Serbian phenomenon, hunting for his tenth victory in the Australian Slam, was completely unbridled in the third set and read the Spaniard's first serve and groundstrokes more easily.
The 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 that he accumulates after just over two hours of play is basically a logical consequence for the nine-time champion, who brings his winning streak to thirty-five in Australia since the defeat in the Australian Open 2018.
Between one interruption due to rain and another, in a day conditioned among other things by the heat that complicates the already turbulent calendar of the second day, Fabio Fognini's stay lasted longer than expected. Against Thanasi Kokkinakis, the Italian tennis player did what he could.
Little, in the vast majority of cases. Evidently also conditioned by a physical problem, the transalpine crawled from one side of the track to the other without giving too many shocks. Another who added an important victory was Andy Murray, who was left with an epic match of five sets and almost five hours against Matteo Berrettini, a duel that took 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 and 7-6.
Djokovic def. Carballes Baena
In the columns of the Team this morning, Mats Wilander focused on the Novak Djokovic's case. The Swede's theory is to explain that the advantage of having been deprived of competition for a time also prevented him from losing and therefore maintaining some confidence.
According to Mats, this unique experience is comparable to that of someone who has had a serious illness. He comes out stronger mentally. From a physical point of view, Mats also believes that the Serb has strengthened his talent in this area.
“Djoko does not have the physique of a 35-year-old guy, but of a 25-year-old. Better: he strengthened his legs. So he made his game stronger. He looks so young, so fresh, that no one scares him on any surface. There is only one exception: Nadal 100% on clay."