Top seed Novak Djokovic looked every inch the Australian Open favourite as he kicked off his bid for a record seventh title at Melbourne Park with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over American qualifier Mitchell Krueger on Tuesday.
Soaking up the Rod Laver Arena limelight, the Serb moved superbly in his opener and hit 42 winners to wrap up the one-sided clash in little more than two hours.
Djokovic bowed out of the fourth round of last year’s tournament bothered by a painful elbow injury but successfully came back from surgery to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Now free from fitness problems, the 31-year-old Serb is savouring his return to a tournament he has virtually owned for the last decade.
“It feels great to be healthy and back on this court again,” the 14-times Grand Slam champion told reporters.
“Twelve months ago it was quite a different sensation on the court with the elbow injury. Twelve months forward, obviously things are quite different.