Australian Open

Djokovic a little 'rusty' but gets through first round

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 10:58pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 11:11pm

A self-admitted "rusty" Novak Djokovic began his bid for a fourth consecutive Australian Open tennis title with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 win on Monday over Lukas Lacko.

With his new coach and six-time grand slam singles champion Boris Becker watching him during a competitive match for the first time, Djokovic appeared tentative early against the Slovakian player, who often appeared content to keep the ball in play and wait for a Djokovic mistake.

But as the second-seeded Djokovic's patience level began to drop, his skill level stepped up. He is on course for a fifth Australian title, hoping to be the first man to achieve that feat since the Open era began in 1968.

It is the first competitive match I've had this season, I haven't played for five or six weeks
Novak Djokovic

Djokovic entered the tournament on a 24-match winning streak, which followed his loss to Rafael Nadal in last year's US Open final.

"It is the first competitive match I've had this season, I haven't played for five or six weeks," he said. "I was a bit rusty on the court the first two sets. Afterwards it was all working well."

Eighth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka was the first man into the next round, advancing after just 15 games when Andrey Golubev retired injured.

Third-ranked David Ferrer opened with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Colombia's Alejandro Gonzalez and No 7 Tomas Berdych beat Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

On Tuesday, in the tougher top half of the men's draw, top-seeded Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Roger Federer were all due to be in action.