Novak Djokovic, making his return to the court at the Paris Masters, seven weeks after losing the US Open final, picked up a doubles win on Monday, on the eve of his singles debut.
Djokovic and Serbian compatriot Filip Krajinovic needed a super tie-break to beat Australians Alex de Minaur and Luke Saville 4-6, 6-4, 10/7, in front of a packed Bercy arena.
“I’ve never played in front of so many people for a doubles match, it’s incredible,” said the world No 1, whose last doubles match was in Mallorca in June when he and Carlos Gomez-Herrera won their semi-final.
They then withdrew from the final because the Spaniard had injured an ankle.
In his first singles match on Tuesday, Djokovic will face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who beat Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5) on Monday.
Djokovic had not played since his dream of winning a calendar Grand Slam was shattered in the US Open final in mid-September by Russian Daniil Medvedev.
“It’s been a very trying season, but it’s not over,” he said.
“I’m very proud of the way I played in the Grand Slams this year, I didn’t end up with the trophy in New York, but there are a lot of things I can be happy about.”
Djokovic lost his first service game on a double fault, and surprisingly allowed Krajinovic to defend when the Australians had a set point, which they won.
The 34-year-old Djokovic, who sought support from the crowd on several occasions, began to find some intensity early in the second set and improved as the match went on and he reacted with a roar of joy when he and Krajonovic clinched the second set.
“It’s a privilege to play with Novak”, Krajinovic said. “A very good friend and my idol.”