Novak Djokovic was unable to play tournaments in the early part of the season due to the anti-Covid rules in force in the various countries where the major world tennis events are played and the choice made on the vaccine.
After losing to Jiri Vesely in the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 tournament in Dubai, the Belgrade scored a hefty defeat in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters 1000. A solid Alejandro Davidovich Fokina took care of beating Djokovic, who did not miss the most important opportunity of his career.
Djokovic hasn't shone on Monegasque clay-courts for years, but such a bad performance was really hard to imagine. It is from the victory obtained in the final against Tomas Berdych in 2015 that the Belgrade has not managed to go beyond the quarter-finals in the Principality.
The names of the opponents who bent Djokovic in Monte Carlo also make us think: Vesely, David Goffin, a still uncertain Daniil Medvedev, Daniel Evans and Davidovich Fokina. In the last fight lost to the Spaniard, however, the Serbian fans were worried about the batting turns left to the opponent and the large number of free mistakes that ended up conditioning the match.
51 of the 115 points scored by Davidovich Fokina came thanks to Djokovic's errors.
Novak Djokovic: because the data show that the situation is worrying
The Serbian champion then recorded the worst serving stat in a best of three sets match.
Djokovic had never lost his serve nine times outside of Grand Slam tournaments. Only in 2012 and 2019 at Roland Garros, against Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem respectively, and in 2005 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the Serbian had failed so many times.
A statistic that Djokovic will inevitably have to improve in order to be competitive on clay-courts. Djokovic explained at the press conference: "There have been a lot of games where I have had break points or balls to keep serve, but I have not exploited them.
He could have won in two sets. I tried to hold on to the game and then in the third set I collapsed from all points of view. I couldn't move anymore." "However I will not stop there. I intend to keep playing to build my form for Roland Garros.
That is the big goal of the clay court season. I had known for days that it would take me some time to feel my best on clay. And in history it has always been like this, few times I played well in the first tournaments on red. Now I have to accept this defeat and move on."