Djokovic lost the opening four games against world No63 Struff but recovered to win in straight sets in first match since splitting from coach Boris Becker
Novak Djokovic recovered from a dreadful start to his season to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff in the opening round of the Qatar Open.
All eyes were on Djokovic, the world No2, following his slump during the second half of last year and subsequent split from his coach, Boris Becker.
The early signs were far from positive for the defending champion, who looked very rusty as world No63 won the opening four games. The German twice served for the first set but from 1-5, Djokovic won five games in a row and from then on was in control as he recorded a 7-6, 6-3 victory.
The Serb, who next faces Horacio Zeballos, said on atpworldtour.com: Its [the] first match of the year. You never know how youre going to start.
As well as you have trained in the preparation period and the days prior to the tournament, [it] really is different when its competitive play, when you start the official match and the crowd is there.
It changes things mentally. I was a bit flat on my feet, but I stayed composed because I knew, I believed that I could find the rhythm, start reading his serve better, and thats what happened. I know that I cant be at my top the very first match, but I believe that the process is right.
The No4 seed David Goffin is also through after a 7-6, 6-2 win over Robin Haase, but the No8 seed Marcos Baghdatis lost against Radek Stepanek.
Andy Murray lost in doubles on Monday and the world No1 will open his singles campaign on Tuesday against Frances Jrmy Chardy.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, makes his comeback from wrist problems that dogged him last year at the Brisbane International against Alexandr Dolgopolov.
In Australia on Monday there were first-round wins for Grigor Dimitrov and David Ferrer. Dimitrov, the No7 seed, defeated Steve Johnson of the US 6-2, 6-3, while the No8 seed Ferrer was a 6-3, 7-5 winner against the Australian Bernard Tomic.
Croatias Borna Coric missed the Davis Cup final against Argentina in November after failing to recover quickly enough from knee surgery and the No6 seed was beaten in his first match since September, losing 6-3, 7-5 against South Koreas Chung Hyeon in the opening round of the Chennai Open.