A former world number 1 and the 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has been on a constant struggle since the start of 2017 and he had to miss the second part of the season due to elbow problems. He returned at the Australian Open where he lost to Hyeon Chung in the fourth round, playing well but feeling the pain again that forced him to make a small surgery in order to overcome his problems and return to the winning track. It certainly wasn't easy at Indian Wells and Miami, losing in the second round to Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire, and he showed clear signs of improvement in Monte Carlo, dropping a tight third round contest against Dominic Thiem. Now, Novak will continue with his comeback next week in Barcelona, asking for a wild card to play at this prestigious ATP 500 event for the first time since 2006!
12 years ago Novak was beaten by Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the opening round, still at the age of 18, and he never returned to the fifth strongest ATP tournament on clay. That will change next week and Novak will try to challenge the 10-time winner Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, trying to shape up his form and make an even better preparation for the upcoming Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome. Djokovic looked pumped and determined in Monte Carlo for the first time in months and he will be eager to spoil the party for the Spaniard and the Austrian, seeking his first ATP title on clay since Roland Garros 2016. Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin, Pablo Carreno Busta and Diego Schwartzman are also in the draw and it should be a great fight for the title, right from the opening round.