2023 In Review: Novak Djokovic returns to Adelaide after 16 years

Novak Djokovic kicked off the 2023 season at the ATP 250 event in Adelaide

by Jovica Ilic
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2023 In Review: Novak Djokovic returns to Adelaide after 16 years
© Sarah Reed / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic claimed his third ATP title in January 2007 in Adelaide. Sixteen years later, Novak returned to Adelaide, kicking off the 2023 season at the ATP 250 event. Djokovic met the Frenchman Constant Lestienne in the first round and scored a 6-3, 6-2 victory in an hour and 15 minutes.

The Serb celebrated an ATP win for the 20th consecutive season, proving his incredible longevity. Novak lost nine points in nine service games, defending the only break point and keeping the pressure on the other side. The favorite grabbed 43% of the return points and turned them into three breaks from eight chances, enough to sail over the top.

Djokovic started the season with a hold at love, and Lestienne leveled the score at 1- with a backhand volley lob winner. Novak moved 2-1 in front with a volley winner at the net, serving well and hoping for the return chances.

Novak Djokovic kicked off the 2023 season in Adelaide, sailing into round two.

Constant followed the rival's pace early on, firing a forehand down the line winner in the fourth game and leveling the score at 2-2 after 13 minutes.

Djokovic squandered a game point in game five and faced a break point after a forehand volley error at the net. Novak denied it and held with a service winner for a 3-2 advantage. Djokovic kept the pressure on his rival in the sixth game and grabbed a break when Lestinne netted a forehand.

The Serb cemented the lead with a forehand down the line winner in game seven, moving 5-2 up and forcing the rival to serve to stay in the set. Constant landed an ace, reducing the deficit to 5-3 before Novak held at love in game nine with a service winner, closing the opener after 38 minutes.

Djokovic created three break points at the beginning of the second set and cracked a forehand down the line winner on the third to build an early advantage. The Serb held at love in game two and pushed strong on the return again at 2-0.

Novak seized the third break point after Constant's backhand error, moving 3-0 up and closer to the finish line. Djokovic grabbed the fourth game with a service winner, and Lestienne served well in games five and seven, prolonging the duel and reducing the deficit to 5-2.

Novak served for the victory in game eight and landed a service winner to emerge at the top and make a winning start to the season.

Novak Djokovic
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