Novak Djokovic's brutal act at French Open after dramas in Australia

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here at the French Open after being kicked out of Australia in January.
Novak Djokovic made a brutal start to his French Open campaign after being kicked out of Australia in January. Image: Twitter/Getty

Novak Djokovic was a man on a mission as he cruised into the second round of the French Open on Monday in his first match at grand slam level since he was deported from Australia.

In his first appearance at a grand slam since the US Open final last September, the World No.1 blitzed Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-1, 6-0.

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At a number of stages throughout the match, Djokovic roared with delight and pumped his fists as he made a fired-up start to his campaign at Roland Garros.

According to British great Tim Henman, Djokovic might have been so fired up because of what happened in Australia.

The Serbian star was deported from the country and missed the chance to defend his title at Melbourne Park because of his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Rafa Nadal won the title in his absence, claiming his 21st major to move one ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer for the men's all-time record.

“His performance was one thing, his ball striking, the consistency on serve, but I was surprised by his attitude, he was so pumped up,” Henman said on Eurosport.

“There was a lot of fist pumping, the screaming and shouting out, for a first-round match at a grand slam.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here celebrating after beating Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open.
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open. (Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

"For someone who has won 20 of them, is that a reflection of what happened in Australia where he didn’t get the opportunity? This is his next opportunity to get to 21 and he is so pumped up.

“You saw from the word go he was so motivated, focused and fired up, ready to get the job done and that’s what he did. He is trending in the right direction.

“He is maybe a little bit underdone but getting the victory in Rome and to come here and make a little bit of a statement.

"Some of the other top players got off to good starts and Djokovic would have been aware of that, you saw all aspects of his game, his movement, his touch, it really was a complete performance."

Novak Djokovic makes successful return to French Open

The French Open is just the sixth tournament Djokovic has been allowed to play this year.

After being kicked out of Australia he also missed Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami and briefly lost his No.1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev.

After losing in the quarter-finals in Dubai in February, Djokovic had to wait until April to return to the ATP tour for the clay-court season in Europe - where there are no vaccination mandates.

"I'm happy to be back. Roland Garros is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, and the memories from last year still are fresh in my head, in my mind," said Djokovic, referencing his triumph at Roland Garros in 2021.

Rafa Nadal, pictured here after his victory over Jordan Thompson.
Novak Djokovic is on a quarter-final collision course with Rafa Nadal. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

The 35-year-old converted eight of 18 break points against Nishioka under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"I have to be pleased overall. I always expect highest from myself, so I can always do better, but was a very good start of the tournament," he added.

Nadal, on a quarter-final collision course with Djokovic, brushed aside Australia's Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, improving his Roland Garros record to 106 wins and just three losses since his debut in 2005.

"It's a good start, of course, straight sets," said the fifth-seeded Nadal.

"I played good for a while. Then things that I could do better and I need to do better. But it's a positive start."

with agencies

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