Novak Djokovic made an impressive winning return to tennis today with a straight sets victory over Italian Lorenzo Musetti in Dubai.
The world No.1 could not defend his Australian Open title after getting deported from Down Under and had not played competitively since the Davis Cup at the start of November.
The Serb, 34, has since seen Rafa Nadal set a new record of male Grand Slam singles titles while Daniil Medvedev will replace him at the top of the rankings by taking the title in Acapulco this week.
But Djokovic, who is allowed to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships without a vaccine, showed he is still a superb player when he gets out on court.
He had to wait for his return even longer when Andy Murray’s preceding match went to three sets and he only walked out on court at 10.15pm local time.
Yet the five-time Dubai champion proved too strong for the Italian teenager as he won 6-3 6- in 74 minutes.
Watched on by his wife Jelena and coach Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic started strongly and broke to lead 3-1 when world No.78 Musetti sent a forehand wide.
The first set was wrapped up after 36 minutes when a backhand slice from the Italian went long.
Musetti forced four break points at 2-3 in the second set – the last after Djokovic miscued a second serve for a horrible double fault.
But the Serbian superstar saved them all – and shouted to his box in celebration. He claimed his first match point when Musetti sent another forehand long.