Novak Djokovic beats Dominic Thiem on return from injury

Doug Mendoza
January 13, 2018

The former World No. 1 eased to a 6-1 6-4 victory over an unwell Dominic Thiem in his first match for six months at the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday.

He pulled out of an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi late last month before travelling to Australia to prepare for the Open.

With five-times runner-up Andy Murray and Japan's Kei Nishikori already ruled out with injuries, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley welcomed Wawrinka's intention to play.

Although Djokovic said he was delighted with his performance, especially his serve, he acknowledged that he was still not in flawless shape.

Djokovic is set to have another hit-out at Kooyong on Friday, as well as taking part in the Tie-break Tens in Melbourne, alongside world No.1 Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Australian Nick Kyrgios.

Still smiling afterward, Djokovic said he'd had doubts whether he'd be ready to play the first Grand Slam of the year, but the win over Thiem was a major confidence boost.

The Spaniard had also been battling a knee injury and had not played since the season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London.

Maria Sharapova [16.0] will get plenty of attention, after re-entering the top 50 for the first time since her ban.

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The American superstar is the reigning Australian Open champion.

While Melbourne Park maestro Djokovic will bid for a record seventh Australian Open title, those fans hoping for a shake-up of the establishment may look to 20-year-old Alexander Zverev after his stellar 2017.

Muguruza's preparations for the first grand slam of the year have been similarly thrown into disarray after she was forced to withdraw from the Sydney International with a leg injury.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant when she beat Venus past year to claim her 23rd major title, gave birth to her first child - Alexis Olympia - in September.

The two greats returned to the top of the sport previous year, gobbling up all four Grand Slams between them and finishing top of the ATP rankings.

"This whole tennis thing is kind of getting to me", said Aiava, who is ranked world No.193.

"It doesn't help when someone wants to walk on the court and get straight back off - that mental state doesn't help", she said.

Williams' quarter also includes fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina and 13th-seeded Sloane Stephens, who won last year's U.S. Open but has lost all seven matches she's played since.

Other reports by GizPress

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