The tennis fraternity loves nothing like the scent of someone not being on their game. Especially when that someone is the best in the world. It is one of those unfathomable things about sports fans. When a sportsperson is on the up, they can do no wrong, but once they get there, there's a certain thrill to seeing someone knock them down. See Rosol, Lukas.
Thus when Novak Djokovic surrendered his second match of 2013 in two surprising sets to Bernard Tomic at the Hopman Cup in Perth. Forget the fact that he won every other match - against Andreas Seppi, Tommy Haas and Fernando Verdasco - there was a chink in the world No.1's armour, and the tennis public seized on it.
Was the defending Australian Open champion really ready for the first Grand Slam of the year?
The short answer? Yes. Djokovic's 6-2 6-4 7-5 demolition of Paul-Henri Mathieu to open his Australian Open title defence on Monday was characterised by all the Serb's strengths. He didn't drop serve once, he broke serve four times, his unforced error count was just 15, and he won over half of points contested from the baseline.
It took him 31 minutes to get the first set out of the way, 33 for the second, and a briefly longer 38 for the third, the bright blue of Rod Laver Arena making his Uniqlo whites seem as dazzling as his 31 winners.
"It was a good performance for a first round," Djokovic said. "I felt I was in control of the match in the opening two sets. Then, you know, he started playing better, striking the ball quite well from both sides on the baseline. I thought he was serving really precisely and really well.
"It was tough to break. But in the end, that 11th game, I made some good shots, good points, you know, managed to go through straight sets."
As he proved throughout 2011 and again in 2012, Djokovic without confidence is like Rafael Nadal without his knees. And so if he was at all worried about his opening match might bring, the resultant display will send him into his second round against Ryan Harrison with an extra whip in his Head racket.
"There are some few adjustments that I need to make and get a little bit sharper on the court," Djokovic explained. "But, you know, it's expected in the first match you're still not, you know, being a hundred percent on the court. You're trying to, but it's going to get better with matches that I play."
Harrison, Djokovic knows, is no walk along the Yarra, but he also knows that he has unraveled the American youngster's game before, and can do so again.
"He's one of these up-and-coming young talents who has been playing well on the tour for last few years," Djokovic elaborated. "He likes playing on hard courts. I think he had lots of success in US hard court tournaments. He has a big serve which he likes to use and big forehand.
"I played him few times before on different surfaces. I know what it takes to win that match."
Ryan, you’ve been told.