Novak Djokovic's staggering act in first ATP match since Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after leaving Pablo Andujar demoralised with a dominant display.
Novak Djokovic left Pablo Andujar demoralised in a dominant display. Image: Getty/Tennis TV

Novak Djokovic has made a stunning return to tennis at ATP level, brushing aside Pablo Andujar 6-0 6-3 at the Tel Aviv Open to ease concerns about a wrist injury he picked up at the Laver Cup.

Playing an ATP event for the first time since winning the Wimbledon title in July, Djokovic reached the Tel Aviv quarter-finals on Thursday with a dominant display.

UPDATE: Rafa Nadal's sister speaks out amid dramas with wife

BEAUTIFUL: Mirka Federer act comes to light after Laver Cup

The World No.7 eased to victory over his 115th-ranked opponent in just 86 minutes, firing 30 winners and breaking Andujar four times.

It was the fewest games Djokovic has lost in any match this season.

Although he played at the Laver Cup last week in Roger Federer's farewell event, the Tel Aviv Open marks the first official ATP tournament that Djokovic has played since Wimbledon.

He was barred from competing in the recent American hard-court swing and US Open due to his continued refusal to get the Covid-19 jab.

Djokovic was always in control against his Spanish rival who he has now defeated three times, winning the first seven games of the match.

"The first match started off in a perfect way for me," said Djokovic, who last played in Israel as a teenager 16 years ago in a Davis Cup tie.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here celebrating after beating Pablo Andujar at the Tel Aviv Open.
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Pablo Andujar at the Tel Aviv Open. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

"I won seven games in a row and we were fighting in that eighth game (which took over 20 minutes to complete).

"It was one of the longest games I've ever played in my life and I've played many, many games in my life. But credit to Pablo for fighting and playing a great match as well."

One staggering point in the second set had the tennis world in awe after Djokovic produced some incredible skills to leave Andujar demoralised.

Andujar moved Djokovic all around the court and appeared destine to win the rally a number of times, before Djokovic produced a sublime drop volley for a winner.

Andujar simply slumped over the net and dropped his head, conceding that his Serbian rival was too good.

Novak Djokovic's first ATP victory since Wimbledon

Djokovic hadn't played in an official ATP event since capturing a seventh Wimbledon title 10 weeks ago, beating Nick Kyrgios in the final.

He was supposed to team up with Jonathan Erlich in doubles in Tel Aviv for the final event of the Israeli veteran's career, before Erlich was forced to withdraw with a back injury.

There were also some injury concerns for Djokovic heading into the Tel Aviv Open, with the former World No.1 revealing he'd picked up a wrist injury at the Laver Cup.

The 35-year-old produced a dazzling performance last Saturday by winning his singles and doubles matches for Team Europe, but lost in straight sets to Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime on the final day of competition on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here embracing Pablo Andujar after their match at the Tel Aviv Open.
Novak Djokovic embraces Pablo Andujar after their match at the Tel Aviv Open. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

"I have been struggling with my right wrist for the last four, five days, to be honest. I have been keeping it under control," Djokovic told reporters.

"The two matches yesterday probably had an effect. Today was not easy. I couldn't serve as fast or as accurately as I would like to. That has affected the whole game.

"Could be not playing matches almost three months, and then conditions here are such that the balls are really big and slow."

But Djokovic, showing no signs of the right wrist trouble which bothered him in London, will face Canada's 149th-ranked Vasek Pospisil in Friday's quarter-finals.

Tel Aviv is the first tournament Djokovic has played to offer rankings points since the French Open in May.

The ATP and WTA tours stripped Wimbledon of rankings points after the All England Club banned players from Russia and Belarus over Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

That meant defending champion Djokovic lost a staggering 2000 points despite winning the title, resulting in his tumble down the world rankings to No.7.

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.