Novak Djokovic laid down the challenge to his French Open rivals by only dropping five games in a first-round win against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.

The Serb top seed, who is bidding for an 18th Grand Slam and a second French Open, eased to a 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory against the world number 80.

After cruising to a 20-minute opening set, Djokovic ruthlessly maintained his level to win in an hour and 38 minutes.

“My ambition is to fight for the title here,” he said.

“It’s just the start of the tournament, I just want to play one match at a time.”

Ricardas Berankis will be Djokovic’s next opponent in Paris after the Lithuanian world number 66 beat Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 6-1 6-4 6-4 to tee up the opportunity to become the first player to beat the Serb on the court this year.

The world number one’s only defeat in 2020 came when he was defaulted from his US Open last-16 match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta after hitting a line judge with a ball.

Djokovic is considered one of the clear favourites – alongside Spain’s 12-time champion Rafael Nadal and Austria’s two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem – to win the men’s singles at the delayed clay-court Grand Slam.

This was Djokovic’s first appearance at a Grand Slam since his undignified exit at Flushing Meadows three weeks ago.

The Serb bounced back by winning the Italian Open on the Rome clay last week and has vowed not to let the Flushing Meadows incident have “any significant negative impact” on his performance.

That proved ominous for 22-year-old Ymer, who could not cope with Djokovic’s intensity and precision on Court Philippe Chatrier. Elsewhere, Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini claimed an equally straightforward victory, beating Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-1 6-3.

The Canadian will continue in the doubles tournament but suggested he would be glad to leave Paris soon, criticising the bubble players are in because of coronavirus restrictions.

“As soon as I’m done with doubles, I will leave the bubble because it’s not a very good bubble here they made for us,” said Pospisil, who along with Djokovic is one of the driving forces behind the Professional Tennis Players Association, a proposed new men’s players’ union.

“It’s not easy mentally to be in it. As soon as I have an opportunity to leave the bubble, I will.”

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