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Novak back with a bang

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Novak Djokovic made an impressive return after two months out of action as the Team Europe star thrashed Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 with Roger Federer cheering him on at the Laver Cup.

Djokovic showed no signs of rust in his first appearance since winning the seventh Wimbledon crown of his remarkable career in July.

The 35-year-old followed his dominant victory over Tiafoe at London’s O2 Arena with another win just hours later alongside Matteo Berrettini in the doubles.

Djokovic and Berrettini beat Jack Sock and Alex de Minaur 7-5, 6-2 to put Team Europe 8-4 up heading in the final round of matches on Sunday.

Djokovic, a 21-time Grand Slam champion, missed the US Open in September due to his unvaccinated status, leaving him to take an enforced break from competitive action.

But he was quickly back in the old routine against Tiafoe as he broke in the fourth game and again in the sixth to take the opening set in just 23 minutes.

Djokovic cruised through the second set, with Federer and the rest of the Team Europe squad gathering at courtside to congratulate him.

“I haven’t played for two months so I’m really glad to have won. It was a pretty decent match from my side,” Djokovic said.

Federer said a tearful goodbye to tennis late on Friday night when the 20-time Grand Slam champion and doubles partner Rafael Nadal were beaten by Tiafoe and Sock.

The 41-year-old announced earlier this month that he would retire after the Laver Cup due to the knee problems that had kept him on the sidelines since Wimbledon in 2021.

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