Djokovic wins in return to U.S. Open, goals to regain No. 1 rating

NEW YORK (AP) — Novak Djokovic is again on the U.S. Open and can now be again at No. 1 within the rankings.

Djokovic made a successful return after lacking the event final yr, rolling to a 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Alexandre Muller on Monday evening.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion needed to wait via Coco Gauff’s three-set victory to open the evening session on Arthur Ashe Stadium, adopted by an opening-night ceremony marking 50 years of equal prize cash on the U.S. Open.

“Properly, I knew it was going to be a late evening for me, late begin of the match,” Djokovic mentioned. “Nonetheless, I imply, I used to be excited to exit on the courtroom. I didn’t care if I began after midnight as a result of I used to be trying ahead to this second for just a few years, to be out on the most important stadium in our sport, the loudest stadium in our sport, taking part in the evening session.”

Djokovic was not allowed to journey to the U.S. final yr as a result of he’s not vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19. Monday was his first match in Flushing Meadows since falling to Daniil Medvedev within the 2021 last, a loss that prevented the Serbian from finishing the primary calendar-year Grand Slam in males’s tennis since 1969.

The No. 2 seed took the primary set in simply 23 minutes and gained the primary eight video games earlier than Muller lastly acquired on the board, elevating his arms in triumph after chopping it to 2-1 within the second set.

“I believe the efficiency explains how I felt tonight, significantly within the first two units. It was sort of lights-out tennis actually, nearly flawless, good first set,” Djokovic mentioned. “I’ve in all probability had the reply for each shot he had in his guide.”

Djokovic improved to 17-0 in first-round matches on the U.S. Open and warranted he’ll regain the No. 1 rating on Sept. 11. As a result of he couldn’t play final yr and had no rankings factors to defend, Djokovic wanted solely get to the second spherical to ensure he would take the highest spot again from Carlos Alcaraz. It will likely be Djokovic’s 390th week atop the rankings, extending his personal document.