It was Djokovic’s 54th consecutive first-round victory at a major and his 57-2 record since his previous loss (going back to the 2006 Australian Open against Paul Goldstein) is the best win percentage by any man in the Open Era.
Following Monday’s win, Djokovic gave an on-court interview in which he acknowledged dancing in Central Park as part of his pre-match preparation. Djokovic promptly went to his bag and pulled out two rackets that he used as faux maracas while he showed off his Latin dance moves to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
Djokovic, winner of this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns, is seeking his fourth US Open and 17th Grand Slam tournament title.
It was part of a full slate of men’s matches as the year’s last Slam opened up in New York. Earlier in the day, Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old Californian, upset Tomas Berdych 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 for his first career Grand Slam win and said afterward that he may reconsider his plans to play at Baylor University after the US Open.
It was his second straight year playing in the tournament, having received a wild card last year. This time, he made it through qualifying and then took advantage of a clearly limited Berdych, who has battled injuries for much of this season.
The 6-foot-11 Opelka hit 26 aces in his 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 victory.
Currently ranked a career-high 42nd, Opelka acknowledged that his serve wasn’t at its very best, but said the victory “shows that I’ve got more than that to back it up.”
Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, advanced to the second round when qualifier Marco Trungelliti had to retire with the 2014 US Open runner-up leading 6-1, 4-1. Nishikori is the No. 7 seed this year after reaching the semifinals in Flushing Meadows last year.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.