Novak Djokovic extended his streak of straight-set wins over Jeremy Chardy to 14 matches as he opened his Australian Open title defense with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 victory in the last match on the first-day program at Rod Laver Arena.
The top-ranked Djokovic was never close to losing against the 33-year-old Chardy, maintaining a winning streak that dates back to 2009.
The 15,000-seat stadium was about one-third full. It's the biggest crowd at a major tournament in a year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no fans were allowed at the U.S. Open, fewer than 1,000 were allowed at the French Open and Wimbledon was canceled.
The state government is allowing up to 30,000 fans per day for the Australian Open, although Melbourne Park is divided into three distinct sections for both day and night sessions and no court can be more than 50% capacity.
“This is the most people I’ve seen on the tennis court in 12 months,” said Djokovic, who has won eight Australian Open titles at Melbourne Park. “Thankyou so much. I really — I really, really appreciate your support in coming out tonight.”