World No 1 Novak Djokovic returns after injury lay-off wearing Halloween mask; struggles to victory in Rd 1 of Swiss Open
World No 1 Novak Djokovic won a hard fought three setter against veteran Xavier Malisse at the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday as he revealed he has recovered from what he termed the worst injury of his career.
Funny: Djokovic sits besides his Halloween mask. PIC/AFP
Djokovic, playing for the first time in six weeks after a back injury in the Davis Cup semi-finals left him lying in agony on court in Serbia, overcame the in-form Belgian 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to progress to the second round.
The Serb, who took the Basel title in 2009 but lost the final a year ago to Roger Federer, walked onto the court wearing a Batman Joker Halloween mask, but got a fright of his own as he faced down Malisse, ranked 47 in the world.
"I'm only just back from the biggest injury of my career," said the winner of ten titles in 2011. "It was a big ask for me to have played really well
"I could do nothing for four-and-a-half weeks, I've only been hitting for a week-and-a-half. That's not enough to play at my best. I've lost rhythm. I had too many errors and too many double-faults. But I'm happy just to be playing tennis again. I hope to build on this performance," he added.