Novak Djokovic briefly struggled before bulldozing past Hungarian journeyman Marton Fucsovics 7-6(2) 6-0 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the French Open third round.
The world number three, who sparked controversy by writing “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” on a camera lens earlier this week, survived a high-octane end to the first set to advance to a clash with Spanish 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
“Thank you, everyone, for your support and presence. I hope you had fun tonight, especially in the first set – me, a bit less,” Djokovic said on the court.
“I was not surprised, I know him very well he can play at a very high level on all surfaces. Then I played my best game. I’m very happy with that.”
Under the lights of Philippe Chatrier court, Djokovic, bidding for a record-breaking 23rd men’s singles Grand Slam title and a third French Open title, came out with all guns blazing against the world number 83 Fucsovics.
Djokovic raced into a 3-0 lead before his opponent found his rhythm to set up three break points at 4-2.
Djokovic saved them, but Fucsovics battled back to level 5-5.
The Serbian yelled at his box on his way to the bench after holding for 6-5 before breezing through the tiebreak.
Djokovic broke his opponent’s serve in the opening game of the second set, and he did not look back, cruising to victory despite being broken twice more.
He went on to sign the camera lens, avoiding another political message.
Djokovic is no stranger to political distractions at a Grand Slam after he defended his father at the Australian Open in January when a video emerged showing him posing with fans holding Russian flags amid the war in Ukraine.
“Drama-free Grand Slam, I don’t think it can happen for me. I guess that drives me, as well,” he told a press conference.