Playing only three games in the last four months and returning to clay in the best possible conditions is not easy even for a champion of the caliber of Novak Djokovic. The Serbian 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 soil 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 mistakes. The Belgrade native then recorded the worst serving stat in a best of three sets match.
Ruud on Novak Djokovic
Casper Ruud recently explained the nuances of Novak Djokovic's tennis, pointing out how the Serb is extremely well-rounded and has a complete game.
"He (the Serb) plays a little bit differently from Rafa," Casper Ruud said. "He plays a little bit further in to the court and the thing with Novak is that his backhand is so pure and so good, that even though many clay-court players like Rafa like to push the backhand of their opponent because it’s tough with the high bounce, with the heaviness, Novak stands against it better than anybody else because he has such good control with his backhand."
Ruud believes that the Serb's game is so solid that it is difficult to devise a tactic against him. "It makes it tough to find any holes in his game and his forehand is no weakness either, so he can produce winners and good defensive shots from both sides all the time," Ruud added.
"He has the package where you can’t really rest in any corner of the court when you play against him because either he plays with his backhand and he will push you with it and also with his forehand he can produce great angles and different shots."