Novak Djokovic was satisfied with his straight-set win over Alexei Popyrin in the Japan Open opening round. The Serb, who was playing his first singles match since his retirement due to a shoulder injury against Stan Wawrinka at the US Open, said: "I thought from really the beginning to the end, I played really well and on a consistent, high level and [with] good intensity.
Shoulder is good. I have not felt anything in the previous days, including today, in the match. So I am very pleased to say that and to feel healthy. [I] had plenty of chances on his service games, also in the beginning of the first set.
Played him for the first time, obviously. Young player with a big game from the back of the court, a big serve. [I] managed to make that crucial break of serve in the first set at 4-4 that definitely helped me step it up even more.
In the second set I ended up the match in a good fashion and I’m very pleased overall with the game." Djokovic added: "I thought from beginning to end that I played very well, very consistent, high level, good intensity, and plenty of chances on his serve.
I was able to step it up in the second set and finished the match well. I saw Soeda's match yesterday. Playing at home is always extra motivation, so I'm sure all the Japanese players feel inspired to play their best tennis, and that's something I'm expecting from him tomorrow."