'Novak Djokovic was hoping to do was turn it around', says former No.1

Djokovic parted ways with his long-term coach Marian Vajda

by Simone Brugnoli
'Novak Djokovic was hoping to do was turn it around', says former No.1

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic scored his first victory over Rafael Nadal on clay in 2011 and 11 years later he still remembers well beating the Spaniard in the Madrid Masters final. Djokovic, 34, had a strong performance in the 2011 Madrid Masters final, in which he defeated local favorite Nadal 7-5 6-4 in straight sets.

"My favorite memory is when I won here against Nadal. The first time I beat him on his favorite surface. It was in 2011, and I won that Mutua Madrid Open, which was very special for me," Djokovic told Marca, as quoted by Sportskeeda.

Since then, Djokovic has defeated Nadal six more times on clay. Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, has only lost three times at Roland Garros and two of those three defeats came against Djokovic. Following a first-round bye in Monte Carlo, Djokovic began his tournament campaign on Tuesday against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Djokovic was clearly far from his best in just his second tournament of the season and Davidovich Fokina took advantage to upset the Serb 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1. "I always believed that I could come from behind and win the match, and I stuck with it even though a lot of things were against me in terms of how I felt on the court.

Game-wise, physically I was far from my best level," Djokovic said after the loss. "So of course in those kind of conditions and circumstances, you have to work twice as hard as normal.

Roddick opens up on Djokovic

Andy Roddick believes Novak Djokovic may adopt a slightly heavier schedule to prepare for Roland Garros after losing his opening match at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters.

"You can't fake tournament reps," Roddick said. "You can play five hours in practice, but when you get the adrenaline and you get the nerves, it's its own kind of exhaust mechanism and when you haven't dealt with that recently - I mean he's very short on matches since the US Open last year.

So, it was a big ask. And what Novak was hoping to do was turn it around, get through, survive this match and then find his game later on. Credit to Davidovich Fokina." The 2003 US Open champion also pointed to the Serb's movement as an issue, while predicting that he might play some extra claycourt tournaments in the coming weeks.

"Also, when you're coming back and you're Novak, the last thing you want is really blustery conditions, right? Where your feet aren't quite under you," Roddick added. "I don't think Novak moved that well today, I felt like he was lunging a lot more than he normally did.

The switch of directions wasn't quite there. Not a big thing to worry about, all to be expected. But expect him to maybe sneak in another tournament or two, play a little bit of a heavier schedule until he finds that footing. Obviously with the goal being Roland Garros."

Novak Djokovic Marian Vajda