Melbourne: Novak Djokovic got his Australian Open title defense off to a worry-free start, breaking Paul-Henri Mathieu's serve in the opening game and going on to beat the veteran Frenchman 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 Monday at Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic, who broke Mathieu's serve at 5-5 in the deciding set, is attempting to be the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian titles. He won in 2011 and '12 to go with his title here in 2008, which was also the first of his five majors.
With Rafael Nadal not playing due to a virus, Djokovic's major threats at Melbourne Park are expected to come from No. 2 Roger Federer or No. 3 Andy Murray.
Federer and Murray are in the other half of the draw.