The unexpected defeat suffered by Novak Djokovic against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round of the Monte Carlo master 1000 proved the human nature of the Serbian tennis player. Djokovic, having played only three games in all of 2022, in the ill-fated Dubai campaign, appeared decidedly drained, imprecise and out of shape and only clung to his immense class to avoid a thunderous defeat in two sets.
However, the physical effort of the second set was paid for by the world number one in the decisive set, in which Djokovic gave real signs of surrender in the final, "delivering himself" head down to the opponent in the last game and also appearing rather nervous.
Even Justine Henin, current sports commentator, wanted to emphasize that even a champion like Djokovic is human and may have suffered the mental repercussions of the events that have happened to him in the last two years.
From the disqualification at the US Open 2020, to the clear defeat in the final of Roland Garros of the same year against Nadal, from the potential Grand Slam vanished in the final of the US Open 2021 against Medvedev to the disqualification in Australia this year.
All these events, according to Henin, have inevitably left aftermath in the head of one of the mentally strongest players on the circuit. During his speech on Eurosport France's 'DiP Impact' podcast, Henin reflected on the last two years of the 20-time slam champion.
“We can't underestimate the emotional roller coaster [Djokovic] has found himself in. Not just the Australian Open and not even all the efforts he made to try and win his 21st Grand Slam at the 2021 US Open."
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. 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."