Novak Djokovic wouldn’t have known what to expect when he arrived back for the Australian Open but there is no doubt he’d be pleasantly relieved by the reaction of Melbourne fans.
Chasing a 10th Australian Open crown a year after his deportation saga, fans had been warned not to boo Djokovic or they’d be kicked out.
In front of a vocal Rod Laver Arena featuring plenty of Serbian flags, Djokovic was instead met with rapturous support.
In fact there was just one person who lashed out before the match, yelling “you’re a wanker Novak” as he prepared to start the game.
It was hardly noticeable compared to the huge reception he had received.
And despite a heavily taped up thigh which left rumour he’s was set to pull out of the event, Djokovic gave the crowd what they wanted with some brilliant tennis.
The match was only midway through the second set when the clock pushed past midnight after a late 10.30pm start.
Djokovic claimed the huge win 6-3 6-4 6-0 against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
“Unbelievable atmosphere,” Djokovic said. “Thank you for giving me such a welcoming reception I could only dream of.
“I feel very happy that I am back in Australia, back here on the court where I had the biggest success in my career. Definitely this court is the most special court in my life.
“Couldn’t ask for a better start to the tournament so thank you for your support. I appreciate that.
“If I have to choose one court and conditions, it would be night session on Rod Laver Arena definitely.”
Extreme heat suspended play for three hours in the afternoon, before the weather gods turned and it started pouring down with rain in Melbourne.
Twelve matches were suspended until Wednesday, including Thanasi Kokkinakis’ match against Fabio Fognini with the Aussie leading 6-1 6-2 4-2 and just five points from a place in the second round.
Aussies Max Purcell and Aleksandar Vukic were also at key stages of their matches when play was suspended.
Of the matches that were played, Australia’s Kim Birrell and Alex de Minaur won through, but Jordan Thompson and Jamiee Fourlis lost.
In the match of the day, Andy Murray won a thrilling five-set epic over Matteo Berrettini that lasted nearly five hours.
It comes after an eventful start to the tournament after Nick Kyrgios withdrew with a knee injury.
2.05am – Popyrin pulls off 2am epic
Aussie Alexei Popyrin has pulled off a massive five-set stunner, dowing Chun-hsin Tseng in a brutal match which went nearly four and a half hours.
The 23-old fought for every moment, fighting back from two sets to one down in an epic 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-1 in a match that finished just after 2am AEDT.
It was a brutal encounter as Tseng’s first set break was the only one for the first four hours of the match as the pair went to three straight tiebreaks.
But it was Popyrin who rode the momentum into the fifth.
Tseng started to tire in the fifth set as Popyrin broken his opponent’s previously impenetrable serve twice to race to 5-1 before serving for the match.
The win means Popyrin will face American 8th seed Taylor Fritz in the second round.
1.12am – Second seed pushed to four
Casper Ruud has been forced into a fourth set by a tenacious Tomas Machac, as the second seed moved safely though to the second round.
Ruud claimed a 6-3 7-6 6-7 6-3 result in three hours and 15 minutes.
Ruud joked he “won on day three” with the time of his win after 1am.
11.45pm – Kokkinakis rival accused of tanking
The crowd is right behind Thanasi Kokkinakis in his opening round match against Fabio Fognini and the Aussie is loving it.
But what everyone isn’t loving is Melbourne’s weather. After a three hour delay for heat earlier, the Kokkinakis match has been delayed three times for rain this evening.
The crowd has gone nowhere though, chanting “Sui” and giving a great atmosphere for the Special K still playing in the Open.
Kokkinakis leads 6-1 6-2 2-1 with a break in the third and has been so dominant, The Age’s Marc McGowan even accused Fognini of tanking.
A fourth rain delay was enough with Kokkinakis just five points from a win but the match may be finished tonight on another court with a roof.
9.40pm – Matches postponed amid rain drama
A wild rain bomb hit Melbourne and six matches have already been postponed for tomorrow.
KASATKINA, Daria  vs. GRACHEVA, Varvara
HADDAD MAIA, Beatriz (BRA)  vs. PARRIZAS DIAZ, Nuria (ESP)
STEFANINI, Lucrezia (ITA) vs. MARIA, Tatjana (GER)
STEPHENS, Sloane (USA) vs. POTAPOVA, Anastasia
BEGU, Irina-Camelia (ROU)  vs. MANDLIK, Elizabeth (USA)
BRONZETTI, Lucia (ITA) vs. SIEGEMUND, Laura (GER)
Thanasi Kokkinakis is back on court while Alexei Popyrin was moved indoors to John Cain Arena.
Earlier extreme heat was the issue, throwing the schedule into chaos with matches delayed to the night session.
7.55pm – Rain falling in Melbourne
There really are four seasons in a day in Melbourne.
Just hours after play on outside courts was suspended because of extreme heat, rain started to fall in Melbourne.
Alex de Minaur’s match against Yu Hsiou Hsu paused briefly to allow the roof at John Cain Arena to close.
The earlier extreme heat stoppage means there are still 26 matches to be completed on outside courts.
The rollercoaster weather is a nightmare for tournament organisers, with first round matches likely to stretch into a third day on Wednesday.
7.45pm – Jordan Thompson out
Australian Jordan Thompson has lost his first round match 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-5 to American J.J. Wolf.
7.10pm – Murray beats Berrettini in a thriller
Andy Murray has pulled off a huge upset, defeating Matteo Berrettini in an epic five-set thriller.
The British veteran took the first two sets but Berrettini fought back to force a fifth and deciding set.
The Italian had the chance to win deep in the fifth set but blew it, hitting a simple crosscourt backhand into the net on match point.
Murray took it to a tie-break and prevailed 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-7 7-6 (10-6) in 4 hours and 49 minutes.
6pm – US star’s X-rated gaffe
Taylor Fritz is through to the second round after a 6-4 6-2 4-6 7-5 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, but not everything went to script for the World No. 9.
Fritz attempted to draw a lock on a TV camera, as is customary when leaving the court after a win, but his drawing ended up looking far more X-rated than he intended.
The American saw the funny side, later tweeting: “For ur information I was trying to draw a (lock) emoji … I just forgot the very important fact that I suck at drawing.”
2.45pm – Play suspended due to extreme heat
Play on the outdoor courts at Melbourne Park has been suspended because of extreme heat.
The temperature has reached 36 degrees in Melbourne, meaning the Australian Open’s “Heat Stress Scale” (testing the heat in full-sun, air temperature in the shade, humidity and wind speed) hit the highest level five, triggering a suspension of play.
Former World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza appeared to be cramping in the heat during her loss to Elise Mertens.
There will be no play on outside courts before 4pm (AEDT).
It’s expected to get even hotter into the afternoon in Melbourne, so play could be suspended for some time.
Matches will be allowed to continue on the three main courts with a retractable roof — Rod Laver, Margaret Court and John Cain Arena.
1.40pm – Birrell prevails in epic comeback
Australia’s Kimberley Birrell has come back from the brink to win her opening round match against 31st seed Kaia Kanepi 6-3 7-6 6-1.
Birrell was a late call-up to the tournament following the withdrawal of Venus Williams to injury, and she took her opportunity with both hands on Tuesday afternoon.
The 24-year-old was pushed all the way in the second set before holding on in a tie-break.
She then won an incredible 14 points in a row in the third set as her 37-year-old opponent broke down in the vicious Melbourne heat.
1.20pm – Rublev crushes Thiem in straight sets
Russia’s Andrey Rublev has defeated Austria’s Dominic Thiem in straight sets to advance to the second round of the Aussie Open.
The fifth seed was far too good for his opponent, winning 6-3 6-4 6-2.
He will face the winner of Max Purcell v Emil Ruusuvuori in the next round.
11am — Swiatek fumes at Aus Open fan
Iga Swiatek was enjoying her opening round victory and signing autographs for fans in attendance when one crossed the line.
The world number one was happily signing tennis balls for fans hanging over the railing when one fan launched a ball that hit Swiatek in the stomach.
Swiatek caught the ball and delivered a swift warning to the fan over their inappropriate act. Despite her anger over the incident she still signed the ball.
9.15am — Aussie great questions Nick Kyrgios
Australian tennis icon Todd Woodbridge has raised questions over Nick Kyrgios’ withdrawal from the Australian Open.
Kyrgios pulled out of the United Cup and Adelaide International due to an ankle injury, but was forced to pull out of the first Grand Slam after suffering a meniscus tear in his left knee which had a growing cyst.
Woodbridge however pondered if the Canberra native would have done things differently if he had his time over again.
“I would hope he has a look at what he did at Wimbledon last year when his preparation was great,” Woodbridge told WWOS.
“The lead-up from a physical point of view, to then getting into the lead-in tournaments, to playing enough matches to be able to walk into Wimbledon knowing that everything was in that positive frame that he spoke about, that his ball striking was good, that his health was good, it gave him a chance to get in a final.
“Was that the preparation that happened before this summer?
“That’s the question, and if you were looking back at his schedule you would say that it was difficult to see that prep when he was flying around the world playing exhibition events.”
8am — Star savagely clips Kyrgios and his partner
David Goffin doesn’t care for Nick Kyrgios or his partner, Costeen Hatzi.
The Aussie star is the focal point in the opening episode of Netflix’s new series, Break Point, which shines a light behind the curtain on the tennis world and its stars.
Aiming to attract more fans to the sport, like Netflix’s Drive to Survive series has done with Formula 1, Goffin wasn’t buying in.
The former world number 7 was asked his opinion on the new series and if he’d be tuning in during his spare time … he didn’t mince his words as he delivered a savage clip to Kyrgios and Hatzi.
“I haven’t watched it yet. I am not really interested in seeing Kyrgios hanging out with his girlfriend. This series is not interesting for players or people who live on the tennis tour,” Goffin said via Le Soir.
5.30am — Russian star tells fan to ‘f*** off’
Two-time losing finalist Daniil Medvedev fired up his bid to go one better at the Australian Open with a straight-sets demolition of Marcos Giron on Monday night.
The Russian seventh seed, almost a foot taller than his opponent, blasted past the 56th-ranked American 6-0 6-1 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena in just 1hr 36mins.
There was barely a hiccup until Medvedev was taken to deuce while trying to serve for the match.
The tension prompted the combative star to object to one rowdy fan, who he promptly told to “f*** off”.
The chair umpire immediately gave Medvedev a code violation for audible obscenity, which drew a shake of the head from the 26-year-old.
Medvedev lashed out at the Melbourne crowd during the final last year, which he lost to Rafael Nadal despite taking the first two sets.
“They are idiots. No brains, empty brains,” he said in a conversation with the chair umpire at a change of ends. “Probably in their life, it must be very bad.”
He then delivered an angry rant in his post-final press conference, calling the crowd “disrespectful”.
“A thousand people would be like, ‘Tsss, tsss, tsss’. That sound. It’s disappointing. It’s disrespectful,” he said. “I’m not sure after 30 years I’m going to want to play tennis.”
Next up for Medvedev is a second-round clash with Australian wildcard John Millman, who came through a five-setter against Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler.