Paris Masters: “Proud Father” Djokovic Returns With a Win

World number one Novak Djokovic made a work of his round of 32 match with Philip Kohlschreiber at the Paris Masters on his return to action a week after his wife, Jelena, gave birth to their first child, Stefan.

The Serb, who is bidding to win the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for a third time, sealed a 6-3 6-4 win over the unseeded German.

“It feels great! It’s different, obviously,” Djokovic told Sky Sports. “I’m trying to take as much positive energy as I can from what’s happened in the past few weeks.

Novak Djokovic Beat Philip Kohlschreiber in Paris Masters Second Round. Image: Getty/ AFP.
Novak Djokovic Beat Philip Kohlschreiber in Paris Masters Second Round. Image: Getty/ AFP.

“I’m very proud to be a father and I’m very proud of my wife for handling the birth in a great way. She’s back home recovering now, with our little boy. This was my first match as a father and it can only inspire me to play my best tennis.”

The 27-year-old, who defeated David Ferrer to claim last year’s title, won 74 per cent of points on his first serve and converted 3 of his seven break point chances to see off Kohlschreiber in 85 minutes. The win extends his head-to-head dominance over the No. 24-ranked right-hander to 6-1.

Djokovic is bidding to stay ahead of Roger Federer, who won the Swiss Indoors title last week, in the race to finish top of the year-end world ranking.

Federer, winner in the French Capital in 2012, will open his campaign on Wednesday. The Swiss, 33, faces Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and will need to build on the points he earned from his victory in Basel.

Djokovic added: “I’ve been fighting for No. 1 the past couple of years with Nadal and Federer. I know what I need to do and I’ll try to keep things simple. Just focus my attention on my own matches.

“I can’t affect Federer’s matches, but I can win as much as I can/ If I keep on winning and performing well, like I did today, then I think I have a good chance. But Roger, on the other hand, is playing some fantastic tennis. It’s going to be a great fight.”

British No. 1 Andy Murray, who has never won the tournament, will take on France’s Julien Benneteau by 13:00 GMT on Wednesday. The Scott, 27, is fifth in the Race to London’s ATP Tour Finals- slated for November- and needs to reach the quarter-finals in Paris to be assured of a place in the season-ending tournament.

On Tuesday, Tommy Robredo, fresh from losing an epic Valencia Open final to Murray, converted all 3 of his break point opportunities to see off Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-5).

Spaniard Fernando Verdasco beat France’s Gael Simons 6-3 3-6 6-4.

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych, currently eighth in the Race to London beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 to keep hopes alive.

Frenchman Lucas Pouille recorded just his second tour level win as he defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-1 6-4. Pouille’s compatriot Gael Monfils beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1 6-4, both in a first round match.