World number three Novak Djokovic celebrated his return to action with a 7-6, 6-4 victory over France's Jeremy Chardy in the first round of the Marseille Open on Wednesday.
Djokovic was playing his first match since retiring against American Andy Roddick during their Australian Open quarter-final last month.
"I took some rest after the Australian Open", Djokovic told reporters.
"It was hard to get some rhythm today because I played against a big server and we were both serving well with a high percentage of first serves. It was just a matter of a couple of points that decided the winner," he added.
The top seed served 13 aces and only had to defend one break point against the 22-year-old Chardy, who reached the final of the South African Open earlier this month.
Djokovic next faces Czech Jan Hernych.
Third seed Gael Monfils made an early exit with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 loss to fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round.
"It was a rotten game, I didn't play," said Monfils.
Mathieu who will play another compatriot, Michael Llodra, in the second round, said: "I played better from the baseline, it was just a matter of letting his serve fade away."
Local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remained on course for a semi-final meeting with Djokovic, defeating Kazakh Andrey Golubev 7-6 ,6-2.
"Last year, I lost in the first round to Mario Ancic. This time I'm still alive but I think Golubev lost all by himself because he served for the fiqrst set at 6-5 and failed to win important points," fourth seed Tsonga said.
Mikhail Youzhny and Feliciano Lopez were the first two players to reach the quarter-finals. Russian Youzhny beat Andreas Seppi of Italy 7-6, 6-3 and Spaniard Lopez defeated Dmitry Tursunov 7-6, 7-6.