But after six months away, there was no way for Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka to know exactly how their bodies and minds would react to getting back on the match court at a Grand Slam, in a best-of-five set situation. I really came without thinking I will be able to play the first match.
Stan Wawrinka was upbeat after winning a tough first match at the Australian Open on Tuesday since knee surgery past year, saying there was still pain but it was getting better.
Wawrinka admitted he was still experiencing pain but was relieved his knee had stood up to the physical demands.
The Swiss who has been out of action since July 2017 suffered a 6-1, 6-4 loss to American Tennys Sandgren in the second round of the 2018 Australian Open. Tennys moved closer to the finish line with a break at 15 at the start of the final set, and he served well until the end to score the biggest win of his career.More news: Government shutdown won't stop Women's March in DC
"For sure. I still have some pain". It depends the way I'm moving, how I push on it. But in general, it's going in the right direction. But I need to be still positive.
"I only had surgery five months and three days ago and to be that far already, it's more than what we could have expected with my team". To see that the knee is keeping it, that I can play a match with the stress, back being tight, with hesitation.
Stan raised his level a little bit in the third set but that wasn't enough to earn at least a set for him, leaving the court in disappointment and with a lot of work to be done in the following weeks in order to get back to the level he had before the injury. [ALSO LIKE] The 27-year-old Berankis hit 59 winners - compared to 36 from Wawrinka - and won more points than Wawrinka (127 to 123).
Federer, who next faces Frenchman Richard Gasquet, said: "I knew he was going to go for his shots, it's a question of protecting your own serve as well as you can, then try to get a break".