Novak Djokovic returns with win over Lorenzo Musetti

Novak Djokovic says he had the "best possible experience" in returning with a win at the Dubai Tennis Championships in his first match since being involved in a vaccination and visa saga in the build-up to the Australian Open.

The world number one became the focus of a global story when he was deported from Australia on 16 January because of his Covid-19 vaccination status.

But on his return to action he saw off Italy's Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-3.

"A pleasant experience," he said.

After thanking the crowd following his first match of 2022, Djokovic added: "I couldn't ask for a better reception. It's been a while since I played the last match.

"I couldn't pick a better place to kick start the season - it was the best possible experience tonight.

"All in all, it's a straight-sets win so of course I have to be satisfied, especially after not playing for two and a half, almost three months.

"There were moments I played great and moments where I made a couple of unforced errors in a row.

"It's normal to expect that for a first time in a while. But I'm glad I managed to finish the job tonight against a very talented player from Italy."

Number one seed Djokovic saved all seven break points he served against Musetti - the world number 58 - and will face either Russia's Karen Khachanov or Australia's Alex de Minaur in round two.

He beat his chest in a show of emotion after testing moments in the win but when asked if that was to draw more from him or his team he told Amazon Prime: "I'll pass on that question.

"It's always in the heat of the battle, the atmosphere where you need to get that energy out. Sometimes you are frustrated with yourself, your game, the things that are happening.

"You know it's important to re-group, get your things together and focus on the next point."