Opposed to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (40th), Djokovic ended up winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours exactly.
Fifty days separated the world No.1 from his last singles appearance, precisely on September 12 in New York, when Daniil Medvedev deprived him of both the US Open, the calendar Grand Slam and a record 21st major trophy. .
We initially believed in a serene return to Djokovic, entered the Parisian court with almost two hours behind the initial schedule. Especially since he had taken – victoriously – his marks the day before in doubles, associated with his compatriot Filip Krajinovic.
Against Fucsovics, he quickly escaped 3 games to 0, then a new break gave him the first set 6-2.
But then things got more complicated for the Serbian, faced both with more of his Hungarian opponent’s backing, and himself guilty of a number of approximations. To the point of not filling an early break dropped to 1 everywhere in the second set.
Everything was not easy either in the decisive round: he took the lead 3 games to 1, but Fucsovics returned to 3-2, before conceding a new break in the process, this time definitive.
“It’s a return to competition for me after almost two months without playing an official tournament, so it was a bit difficult to find the rhythm, but I’m happy, it’s a good victory”, appreciated “Djoko “.
His next opponent will therefore be Mannarino, qualified since Monday, or Monfils, winner 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 of the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic (69th).
Asked about his state of form two days ago, the French N.1 was not reassured when he repeated three times “not at best” and explained to feel “a lot of physical and mental fatigue”.
But he found the resources to hold on and gain momentum after losing quickly in the first set.
“Carried by the public, the machine started up, it’s perfect,” he said.
“We had a few very, very hard months, so playing in front of you is an incredible pleasure, it’s fabulous,” he added, qualifying his duel on Wednesday as “a great celebration for the French”. with Mannarino.
In total, the Blues were only seven on the starting line, the tightest contingent for more than fifteen years (2005).
With the young Hugo Gaston qualified the day before, they will be three in the second round, as in 2002, 2004 and 2018.
After Benoît Paire and Arthur Rinderknech on Monday, Richard Gasquet (74th) and Pierre-Hugues Herbert (99th) fell on Tuesday.
The first, despite two last sets of good quality, against the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, ex-world No. 3 today 30th, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
The second 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 after a spectacular fight of nearly three hours against the new Spanish nugget Carlos Alcaraz, only 18 years old and already 35th in the world , unfortunately concluded with two double faults in a row.
“The end is catastrophic after 2h51 min of a very good fight, laments Herbert. It’s a great tennis match, I am not far at times to gain a little the advantage. To finish as I finished, it is is pretty terrible. “
On the other hand, we will not know the impressions of Gasquet, the video conference of the press which followed having been made impossible to carry out because of a technical problem – even though the players lend themselves to it in a room adjoining the press room. .
Alcaraz qualified, here is the recent quarter-finalist of the US Open who is now heading for an enticing shock 100% 2000s with the young Italian Jannik Sinner (20), a brand newcomer in the top 10 and even in the race at the Masters at the end of the season in Turin (he is 8th in the Race).
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ATP Paris: heckled return for Djokovic who wins all the same against Fucsovics