Large weapons Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic have taken sturdy steps ahead of their respective Australian Open title bids, dispelling damage fears throughout an entertaining exhibition conflict.

Djokovic was given a heat welcome by followers at a sold-out Rod Laver Enviornment on Friday evening as he returned to Melbourne Park for the primary time since final yr’s deportation saga.

The nine-time Australian Open winner confirmed no indicators of the hamstring challenge that has troubled him this month and repeatedly performed as much as the group throughout the light-hearted hit-out for charity.

Regardless of damage issues, each Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic obtained by way of their exhibition match unscathed, elevating cash for charity within the course of. Graham Denholm/Getty Photographs

Kyrgios pulled out of the latest United Cup and Adelaide Worldwide tournaments with knee and ankle complaints and has not performed a severe match since late final yr.

However Australia’s top-ranked participant — the host nation’s greatest shot at one other Open crown after Ash Barty’s drought-breaking victory final yr — moved nicely in opposition to Djokovic in a constructive signal for his hopes of going deep into the second week.

Djokovic, who beat Kyrgios in final yr’s Wimbledon remaining and is on a quarter-final collision course with the native firebrand in Melbourne, was stuffed with reward for the nineteenth seed, who takes on world No.98 Roman Safiullin within the first spherical.

“He is 2-1 in opposition to me, so so far as I am involved he can win something,” Djokovic stated.

Djokovic opens his bid for a record-extending tenth Australian Open title in opposition to Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

After having fun with a “implausible” response from followers in Adelaide this month, the Serbian famous person admitted he was not sure how he can be acquired in Melbourne a yr after he was deported over his unvaccinated standing.

However any fears had been put to mattress when an emotional Djokovic walked into Rod Laver Enviornment to loud cheers from the group on Friday evening.

“It simply feels nice to be again in Australia, again in Melbourne,” Djokovic stated.

“That is the court docket and the stadium the place I created the most effective reminiscences of my skilled tennis profession.

“Again in 2008 was the primary time I gained a grand slam, it was right here, and 15 years later I am right here once more and I am competing on the excessive degree.

“I have to be very grateful for this chance to be right here so thanks guys (the followers) for welcoming me in a great way tonight.”

Kyrgios, who had beforehand known as Djokovic a “instrument” and mocked his post-match celebrations, defended his rival amid the deportation saga.

Through the exhibition match, the foes-turned-friends delivered trick photographs, faux outbursts and mid-match interviews with the tv broadcaster as they put their new ‘bromance’ on full present.

They took a set every beneath Fast4 circumstances earlier than teaming up with wheelchair gamers and juniors for a third-set tiebreak.

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