Dubai — World number one Novak Djokovic finally got his season underway in Dubai on Monday, playing for the first time this year after being deported from Australia for not being vaccinated.
At 2215 local time (1815GMT), Djokovic arrived on court to face Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in his first competitive match since the Davis Cup Finals in early December.
The Serbian star was greeted by loud cheers from a packed Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium as he kicked off his quest for a sixth title in the Emirates.
The 34-year-old's hopes of winning a 10th Australian Open, and 21st Grand Slam, in Melbourne last month were shattered when he had his visa cancelled and was deported.
Djokovic can play in Dubai as a coronavirus vaccine is not a requirement to enter the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier on Centre Court, former world number one Andy Murray dropped a 68-minute opening set before coming back to defeat Australian qualifier Christopher O'Connell 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 7-5 in a three-hour battle.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, competing in Dubai for the first time since he won the title in 2017, next takes on Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner or Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.