Prize money row rumbling behind scenes at Melbourne Park

Canada's Milos Raonic leaves the court following his first round loss to Slovakia's Lukas Lacko at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne Australia Tuesday Jan. 16 2018

The 14th-seeded Djokovic was playing his first official tournament match since a six-month layoff after a right elbow injury kept him off the circuit since Wimbledon, where he lost in the quarterfinals. "Something is going on with Australia and me".

With the temperatures heating up, he was pushed to four sets by Ricardas Berankis before prevailing 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) in a tough workout he said was "proud" to come through.

No one has won more Australian Open titles than Djokovic, who's tied with Roy Emerson for the all-time lead at six.

Twelve-time Grand Slam victor Djokovic has been out of action for six months with an elbow injury, but you wouldn't have known it in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 demolition of American Donald Young. "There's no better place for me to start than here in Australia", he said.

We all know the shots from the telly: the attractive girlfriend in the stands, holding their breath as their other half plays in the biggest tennis tournaments in the world.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev was tested by Thomas Fabbiano but did not drop a set in a 6-1 7-6 (7/5) 7-5 victory but 22nd seed Milos Raonic was beaten 6-7 (5/7) 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7/4) by Lukas Lacko. Two other US contenders, No. 8 Jack Sock and No. 16 John Isner, were out on opening day.

More news: JPMorgan revenue beats Wall Road forecasts on increased rates of interest

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal made memorable returns to action in Melbourne a year ago after injury ended their previous season early and Djokovic in particular served up an ominous warning that he may follow his rivals' lead with something similar over the next fortnight.

Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe were all eliminated on Monday.

Madison Brengle of the United States lost to Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-1.

Both the Romanian and her 17-year-old wildcard opponent needed on-court medical attention before the top seed ran out a battling 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 victor.

Djokovic, due to play later on Tuesday, has not yet commented publicly on the report, which says his main grievance is the percentage of revenue raised by the four grand slams that is allocated to the prize money pot. "I love it here", said the Russian, who returned from her drugs ban in April past year.

Djokovic took the first set for the loss of just a single game making just two unforced errors - in contrast to Young who made 17 and failed to put the remodelled Djokovic serve under any pressure at all. "But it felt pretty routine today".

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