Skipping all the action since the Australian Open due to injuries, the world's best players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal returned in Monte-Carlo as the top favorites in April. The former champions and dominant players since 2005 battled in another Monte Carlo final.
Still, they were far from that level, winning three combined matches and losing before the semi-final at the same ATP event for only the seventh time after 2012 and the first time since the 2019 ATP Finals. Nadal and Djokovic left the door open for the youngsters, with Stefanos Tsitsipas defeating Andrey Rublev in the title clash.
Speaking about that short Monte Carlo campaign, Novak said that he and Rafa still want to maintain a high level and challenge the youngsters who come, although they cannot win every match and tournament. The Serbian suffered the first loss of the season to Daniel Evans, losing 6-4, 7-5 to the opponent who had four ATP wins on clay before Monte Carlo.
Rafa went a bit further after beating Federico Delbonis and Grigor Dimitrov in style before losing steam to Andrey Rublev 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the quarters. Rublev broke four times and stole serve from Nadal seven times, dominating the score in sets he won to stay in pursuit of the title.
The Russian dominated his blows very well and took advantage of Nadal's more than 30 unforced errors. Rublev had the upper hand in the shorter and longer exchanges and started again after squandering the second-set lead to send the 11-time champion packing.
"We probably made a lot of people think that we can play perfect tennis every week for the rest of our lives, but that's not possible. I don't think there is anything strange; it's just a bad week. If our opponents have a really good day, they can beat us.
Rafa, Roger and I have been very successful and dominant in the last 15 years or more."
Nole admittedly comes from a closely-knit family
Serbian World No.1 Novak Djokovic recently lifted his 20th Grand Slam and sixth Wimbledon title.
However, this time around, he did not have his parents, Srdjan and Dijana Djokovic, in the player’s box to support and cheer for him due to COVID-19 protocols. As a result, the furious father decided to speak out against the most prestigious tennis tournament.
Nole admittedly comes from a closely-knit family and has had family support his entire career. Hence, his father got upset as he could not be there for his son this time. “When I’m in his box, I play every ball with him,” Srdjan said.
“Unfortunately, my wife and I wanted to come to Wimbledon, but they didn’t let us”. Furthermore, he reflected on the protocols set in the times of the ongoing pandemic. He was not happy when he heard that he would not be able to be there with Novak.
“These horrible people did not allow us, parents, to go and watch him because we had to go in quarantine for a week, even though the stadium was full with 15,000, 16,000 people,” he added.