Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick said the lack of matches was evident in Novak Djokovic's first clay-court match of the season, but added that it is nothing to worry about. On Tuesday, Djokovic kicked off his clay season at the Monte Carlo Masters.
No.1 seed Djokovic had a first-round bye before being stunned by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Davidovich Fokina, number 46 in the world, achieved the biggest victory of his career after surprising Djokovic 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
Djokovic was playing in just his second tournament of the season. "He is very match-less since the US Open. It was a huge demand. What Novak hoped was to turn it around, pass, survive this match and find his game later," Roddick said on Tennis Channel.
"I don't think Novak has moved that well today. He has thrown a lot more than usual. He was changing direction, he wasn't quite right. It's not something to worry about, hopefully, but I hope he slips into one or two tournaments, play a little harder until you find your footing.
Obviously, the goal is Roland Garros," Roddick added. Djokovic got off to a slow start in the match, as Davidovich Fokina was up 4-1 and had a double-break lead after the first five games. Djokovic recovered from a break in the sixth game, but suffered a break again in the ninth as he served to hold on in the first set.
In the second set, Djokovic twice recovered from a break down to finally force a tie-break, in which he collected his first set point to send the match to the final.
Djokovic will defend his title in Paris
Marc Rosset discussed Novak Djokovic's defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters.
The Swiss said the Serb's defeat highlighted the fact that returning from a long absence was difficult even for the cream of the crop. "He had a match somewhat identical to that experienced by Stan [Wawrinka], namely that he collapsed in the 3rd set.
'Nole' was "crimson" late in the game against Davidovich Fokina," Rosset said. "It's rare with him! It also demonstrates that nothing is done with a snap of the fingers. But I think he will be well on his feet at Roland-Garros, because if he wants to, he can now play every week from here to Paris," Rosset continued.
"He is no longer in uncertainty, when he did not know which tournament he could participate in, when he could not put the same intensity in training. There, everything will go back in the right direction for him."