For the Serbia Open, Andrey Rublev also arrived in Belgrade. The Russian tennis player arrives in the Serbian capital after the first Masters 1000 on clay: in Monte Carlo, the world number eight did not go beyond the round of 16, being defeated in three sets by Jannik Sinner.
Although the 1000 tournaments are not in his favor, the 250 and 500 tournaments have always been liked by the Russian. Four months into the season, Andrey Rublev has won two tournaments, both on hard courts: the 250 tournament in Marseille against Felix Auger-Aliassime (avenging the Rotterdam final) and the ATP 500 in Dubai, winning in the final against Jiří Veselý, the man who won a few previous rounds against Novak Djokovic in his debut tournament this season.
“I'm finally in Belgrade and I feel good. It's the first time here, but I feel practically at home," he told Serbian broadcaster b92," I'll try to win. I came here to play tennis, as always."
Not an easy goal according to the Russian, raising the level of the other players: "Everyone is improving their game, they are professional and the players are getting better and better" Belgrade, however, is only the second tournament on clay, after Monte Carlo: although it is the second seeded, Rublev has clear ideas about who is the favorite.
Justine Henin opens up on 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. Henin reckons that even though Djokovic is mentally tough, he is susceptible to periods of doubt and turmoil.
"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."
During the podcast, Justine Henin said that she expects Novak Djokovic to regain his mojo sooner rather than later. "But these players aren't machines either, and even if he showed us that he could deal with so many things and that the more he was in difficulty, the more he could bounce back, how long can he keep doing that?" she asked.