Daniil Medvedev shook off the rust from a down-time month away from tennis as the defending champion began with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Alexander Shevchenko in a winning start at the ATP Dubai event on Tuesday.

The world No. 3 was coming off an Australian Open finals loss a month ago to Jannik Sinner and admitted he was unsure of his form and nursing a foot injury.

But 52 unforced errors from the naturalised Kazakh opponent and 11 winners of his own got the job done in 88 minutes for a place in the second round.

Medvedev won the title at the Aviation Club a year ago, part of a run of 2023 form which produced back-to-back trophies in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.

He won the last four games to complete victory over his No. 47 opponent as he bids to defend a title for the first time in his career.

“I took a week and a half off and when I came back I started feeling pain here and there, not practising 100 per cent,” the winner said.

“It’s very tricky, when you come into a match you have to forget about it.

“When you think about something other than tennis you are going to lose the match. 

“(Tonight) I didn’t feel any pain and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”