Djokovic, Wawrinka advance to 2nd round at Australian Open
Updated: 2015-01-20 17:39
MELBOURNE, Australia - Four-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic returned to Rod Laver Arena for the first time as a husband and father, shrugging off the effects of a cold to beat No. 116-ranked Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in his first-round match on Tuesday.
Djokovic won the first of his seven major titles at the 2008 Australian Open, then won here in three consecutive years from 2011 to 2013. His 25-match winning streak at Melbourne Park ended in a quarterfinal loss last year to Stan Wawrinka, who went on to win the title.
Wawrinka began the defense of a major crown for the first time with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 100-ranked Marsel Ilhan, taking less than 1 hours to breeze through the first round.
In a breakthrough 2014 season, Wawrinka claimed his first Grand Slam title, reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 and helped Roger Federer win the Davis Cup for Switzerland for the first time.
He warmed up for the season-opening major by successfully defending his title at the Chennai Open.
"It's great, bringing me a lot of memories from last year," Wawrinka said of his return. "It was great to come back here feeling happy, happy with my game."
Top-ranked Djokovic had the next match on center court and appeared to be tired and still recovering from illness after his match, saying he'd had a "rough two weeks health-wise but I'm getting up there."
His mood changed suddenly when a court-side interview turned to reflections of 2014, when he won Wimbledon for the second time, married his long-time partner, Jelena, and the couple had a son, Stefan.
"Well those two events are the two most beautiful events I experienced in my life," he said. "Stefan, he's a blessing we received ... now I have even more motivation."
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