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'It makes my heart full again' - Novak Djokovic pays tribute to Australian Open crowd after win

Novak Djokovic backhand Australian Open

Novak Djokovic strengthened his 'love affair' with Rod Laver Arena after thrashing Jeremy Chardy at the Australian Open.

Djokovic is chasing what would be a ninth title in Melbourne this month, and he made an ominously strong start with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 win against Frenchman Chardy.

From the very first game when Djokovic broke serve, it always looked like he was very much in the mood to put on a show, and that's precisely what he did.

"There’s an ongoing love affair between me and this court," Djokovic said on court after the match.

"Hopefully I can have many great matches with these kinds of performances.

"I’m just really glad we are free, we are playing tennis. I am really glad we are back in Australia. It’s a happy place, that’s all."

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Djokovic also paid tribute to the crowd in Rod Laver Arena, who came out in their numbers after almost a year of empty stadiums for ATP and WTA events.

"It makes my heart full to see a crowd in the stadium again," Djokovic said.

"It’s one of those things we hope is going to pass very soon, these kinds of circumstances are temporary.

"These are the most people I’ve seen on a tennis court in 12 months.

"Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support tonight, because sometimes we take these things for granted but I’m very grateful to see crowds back again."

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