Serbian Novak Djokovic will continue to prove that Australia is his home away from home as he rolls through the year's first Major in victorious style.
Djokovic has been dominant everywhere he's played the last two years, but he might not be better anywhere than he is on the hard courts in Melbourne. His first-round win over 60th-ranked Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5, was his 15th straight victory in Australian Open play.
This leaves him trying to become the first player in the Open Era to win three straight titles at the Australian Open, and Nole will do just that.
Djokovic was in fine form against Mathieu. While the Frenchman was competitive over the final two sets, he was never a threat to upset the world's No. 1 player.
In this match, Djokovic looked strong with serve, was moving fluidly and he was in control of groundstrokes. As a result, he got a clean, straight-set victory over a solid player to start his tournament.
This is bad news for the rest of the field, who all need Djokovic to be at least slightly off his game if they hope to beat him. Unfortunately for those players, Djokovic is only going to get better as this event moves on.
The News Tribe passed along this quote from Djokovic:
It was a good performance for a first round. It's expected in the first match you're still not 100 percent on the court. You're trying to, but it's going to get better with the matches I play.
Next up for Djokovic is American Ryan Harrison, and Harrison will soon be a footnote in Djokovic's historic run to Australian glory.
With Rafael Nadal sidelined with an injury, Roger Federer and Andy Murray figure to be Djokovic's biggest competition in this tournament, but those two are both lined up on the same side of the draw and will have a more physically demanding path to the finals.
If Djokovic does meet either of those great champs in the finals, he will be fresher, and as we all have seen, Djokovic doesn't need any advantages to triumph at this tournament.