A very complicated and troubled 2022 season for the current number 1 in the world. Novak Djokovic is ready to take the field again at the ATP 250 in Belgrade, a 'home' event that will only be his third tournament of the year after Dubai and Monte Carlo.
The choice not to undergo the anti-Covid vaccination caused many problems for the Serbian, who now has to deal with a physical condition that is not at the top. The defeat to Davidovich Fokina (later finalist) is a prime example, with the 34-year-old collapsing in the third set.
At the press conference he said: "I need more games to reach the level I want. Yesterday I did four training sessions, two fitness and two tennis, I was a bit tired. I take advantage of every free moment I have to prepare myself physically.
This is particularly important for clay: in Monte Carlo I was not prepared, I am aware of it, I still lack the pace of the game. There is a big difference between playing points in training and competing. I hope to be able to play more games here than in Monaco, I hope to receive the support of the public, something that means a lot to me, like the one I received in the Davis Cup in 2010 or last year before Roland Garros, "he commented.
Then he went on, revealing: "I had never played a tournament the week before Roland Garros, but it was a great decision because I needed that encouragement by going to Paris and the audience gave it to me."
Henin talks about Nole Djokovic
Justine Henin believes Novak Djokovic is feeling the weight of all the controversies and issues that have engulfed him over the past couple of years.
"We can't under-estimate the emotional roller-coaster he [Djokovic] has been on," Henin told Eurosport France's 'DiP Impact' podcast. "Not just the Australian Open and not just all the effort he made to try and win his 21st Grand Slam at the 2021 US Open either.
But you can also go back to the US Open in 2020 when he was disqualified. From there, he then had the tough [final] defeat [to Rafa Nadal] at Roland Garros. Then he had the abdominal injury and his somewhat miraculous win at the Australian Open in 2021."
That said, the seven-time Major champion explained that she does not think the Serb will feel the weight of these events throughout his career. "I'm not saying all this is going to have an impact on the rest of his career, but he's got to digest and recover from all of that," she continued. "And these are factors that have got to be taken into account when we talk about him now."