French tennis star Gael Monfils admits facing Novak Djokovic will be a big challenge for him as he is hoping to finally beat the world No. 1 for the first time in his career. Monfils and Djokovic are no strangers to each other, haivng met 17 times on the ATP Tour.
Monfils, who has been one of the best players on the Tour for over the past decade and a half, has never beaten Djokovic as the Serb holds an impressive 17-0 record over the Frenchman. Monfils was really close to beating Djokovic two years ago in Dubai, just before the pandemic started.
Back then, Monfils was inches away from beating Djokovic but he missed out on three match points as the Serb won 2-6 7-6 (8) 6-1. On Monday, Monfils defeated Spanish wildcard Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3 6-0 to progress into the Madrid second round.
Monfils set to take on Djokovic
“[Playing Djokovic] is going to be a big challenge for me,” Monfils told the ATP Tour website. “I have never beaten him on the ATP Tour. I am getting my rhythm back as well and it is funny because he is too but has more matches on clay than me.
I will try and make good decisions on the court, to try and beat him”. Monfils maybe has an ugly head-to-head versus Djokovic but he is in good spirits ahead of the match and determined to deliver a big performance.
“The guy is better than me, that is it,” said Monfils. “Every match is an opportunity to win, I try to take some lessons. He can beat me tomorrow and maybe at Rome and then Roland Garros, and then maybe I can beat him once." Djokovic has been struggling with his game this clay season and Monfils will certainly be optimistic about his chances versus the Serb.
It remains to be seen if Monfils can finally make a breakthrough and beat Djokovic on the clay courts of Madrid.