Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer won his first match at the Australian Open Monday after coming off a injury-blighted 2016.
Federer downed his one-time junior rival Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in 2hr 6min on Rod Laver Arena.
The Swiss 17th seed will now play American qualifier Noah Rubin in the second round.
"It's nice to be playing normal tennis again and I couldn't be happier to be back," said Federer, who missed the second half of last season through injury.
"I hope I can stick around for a bit longer yet."
Federer, at 35, is bidding to become the second oldest man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after Australian Ken Rosewall.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion, playing in his 69th major, is seeded 17 at this year's Australian Open after a knee injury restricted him to just seven Tour events last year.
Federer dropped out of the world's top 10 rankings for first time in 734 weeks or over 14 years last November and his 17th ranking is his lowest position since May 2001.
He fell behind to an early break against Melzer in the opening set but once he gained his playing rhythm he broke back and then again in the 11th game.
Melzer, who grew up in the juniors with Federer, levelled the match taking the second set.
But the Swiss legend whipped through the third set in 28 minutes with the Australian crowd cheering his every winning point.
Federer finished off in style with two breaks of serve to run a convincing winner.
Stan survives scare
Former winner Stan Wawrinka survived a massive first-round scare to edge Martin Klizan in a five-set thriller at the Australian Open on Monday.
Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, fought back from a break down in the final set to overhaul the 35th-ranked Slovak, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in 3hr 24min on Margaret Court Arena.
Tensions ran high in the final set when Wawrinka slammed a ball at a defenceless Klizan, who had conceded the point after a rally and was standing at the net.
The Swiss fourth seed quickly jumped the net to offer his apologies as Klizan sunk to his haunches in pain.
"It was a big fright tonight, he's a tough player who pushes a lot and I am very happy to get through," Wawrinka said.
"I was fighting a lot and I never give up but it was most important to get through."
Wawrinka, who beat Rafael Nadal to win the 2014 Australian Open, will next play American Steve Johnson.
The Swiss hit 21 aces and 13 winners with his signature single-handed backhand but made 43 unforced errors as he struggled to contain left-hander Klizan's powerful forehand.
Wawrinka maintained his record of never having lost in the first round at his 12th Australian Open campaign.
Published Date: Jan 16, 2017 18:58 PM | Updated Date: Jan 16, 2017 18:58 PM