On Monday, Novak Djokovic kicked off his US Open title defense without a glitch as he cruised past Roberto Carballes Baena, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4, to move into the second round.

Djokovic, who was upset by eventual champion Danii Medvedev in the Cincinnati semifinal, is vying to win his third major of the season, having won the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon in July. If he  successfully defends his crown, he will be one Slam behind Rafael Nadal’s 18, and three behind Roger Federer’s record 20.

”I'm aware of [Grand Slam leaderboard debate], “said Djokovic. “I mean, I'm part of this world. Of course, I can't completely switch off and eliminate what people are talking about.

”It's flattering, obviously. But at the same time, you know, it's still a very long way ahead of me. It does also put a certain level of responsibility to me as well, because I am aiming to do that. It's definitely one of my ambitions and goals. I am 32, so things are a little bit different than they were 10 years ago, but I still feel young inside and outside. I am still very motivated to keep going.”

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Djokovic kicks off US Open title defense with win over Carballes Baena

Djokovic kicks off US Open title defense with win over Carballes Baena

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In his opening match, Djokovic failed to convert early break-point opportunities, leaving him frustrated. When he finally secured a break late in the first set, his mood changed for better, and he began to impose his game. He ran away with the second set, and was never seriously troubled the rest of the way.

“It’s great to be back. I’m grateful that at this stage of my life and career… I’m still competing at a Grand Slam. We sometimes have to remind ourselves of these blessings,” said Djokovic. “I’m quite pleased with my performance and looking forward to the next round.

The 16-time major champion awaits the winner of the match between Sam Querrey, who has beaten him before at a major (Wimbledon, 2016), and Juan Ignacio Londero.

Djokovic kicks off US Open title defense with win over Carballes Baena

Djokovic kicks off US Open title defense with win over Carballes Baena

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