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Djokovic Pushes Aside Any Elbow Concerns In Opener

Elbow problems? What elbow problems?

For at least his first-round match, Novak Djokovic brushed aside any worries of his right elbow holding him back during this Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic returns to tour-level action for the first time since 2017 Wimbledon.
The six-time champion routed American veteran Donald Young, looking like his old self as he crushed sliding forehand winners and broke Young six times to advance 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

“It felt great to be back on the court and compete again,” said Djokovic. “It’s been a while [so] obviously you don't know how you're going to start off. I was putting a lot of hours on the court in the past couple weeks… I could feel that I was hitting the ball well.”

It was Djokovic's first match in more than six months, since he retired in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July because of the right elbow injury. The 12-time Grand Slam champion endured months of rehab on the elbow, with the hopes of returning in Melbourne, the site of his most successful Grand Slam.

“There were a lot of good emotions,” said Djokovic. “I was looking forward to getting out on the court and compete. But I did feel nerves and I did feel a bit sceptical whether I'm going to be able to continue playing well as I have the last couple weeks in the practice sessions.

“But I thought I controlled [my nerves] well. I didn't get carried away by anything, even though a couple times in the match things could have maybe gone a different way. [It was a] very, very solid performance.”

No one has won more Australian Open titles than Djokovic, who is tied with Roy Emerson for the all-time lead at six. The Serbian will look to continue his path to title No. 7 in the second round, where he will meet Frenchman Gael Monfils who beat #NextGenATP Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Last year, Djokovic fell in the Australian Open second round to wild card Denis Istomin in one of the upsets of the 2017 season. It was Djokovic's earliest loss at a Grand Slam since 2008 Wimbledon (l. to Safin).

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