Dominant duo make hay in Melbourne as fixing cloud gathers

Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:41am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - It was very much business as usual for Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams at the Australian Open on Monday, even if allegations of widespread match-fixing cast a shadow over the opening day of the year's first grand slam.

As the sun shone and more than 70,000 fans streamed through the gates at Melbourne Park, the great and the good of tennis officialdom filed into a room in the bowels of Rod Laver Arena to defend their record on battling corruption.

On the pristine blue showcourt only a few meters away, however, first Williams, then Djokovic gave notice that they had no intention of relinquishing lightly the dominance they exerted over tennis last year.

Williams had not completed a set since her dream of winning all four grand slams in one year was dashed in the U.S. Open semi-finals in September, yet she proved far too strong for Italian Camila Giorgi in their first-round match.

Dispelling any doubts about her fitness and form, the 34-year-old American moved freely on the troublesome knee that forced her to quit the Hopman Cup mid-match two weeks ago.

"It's great. It was an hour and 43 minutes and I didn't feel it at all," the six-times Australian Open champion said after her 6-4 7-5 victory.

"Okay, I haven't played in a long time, but I have been

playing for 30 years ..."   Continued...

Current Australian Open Men's and Women's champions Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams of the U.S. hold their trophies as they pose for a photograph after arriving for the official draw ceremony at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 15, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray