Two of the biggest players in the Mutua Madrid Open tournament are Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. The world number one and home idol put on a show today in front of the Spanish crowd and preparing for their debut in the tournament.
The number one in the world will play Wednesday against the French tennis player Gael Monfils while Carlos Alcaraz will make his debut against the Georgian Basilashvili, a tennis player who today beat the Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini in two sets.
Djokovic will play the 2022 French Open
Novak Djokovic has reminisced about his epic battle with 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal at the Caja Magica in Madrid in 2009. "It was an incredible match, had some match points.
We were rallying in one of those match points, and he hit an incredible inside-in forehand winner on the line. It always is a great battle with Rafa, particularly playing him here in his home, in his home country Spain, on his favourite surface clay.
It was the closest I got to beating him on clay at that point." The Serb beat Nadal in straight sets in the 2011 Madrid final before repeating the feat a week later in the Italian capital. Djokovic added: "I think I had my first win on clay against him in 2011.
But that match (2009 Madrid) was extraordinary. We played something like three tiebreaks. I don't exactly remember the scoreline, but every set was close. And then I started to believe that I could win against him on clay. Till that point, he was dominating our matchups."
Novak Djokovic said that he had been suffering from an illness that took a toll on his body. He also mentioned that he was feeling better with each passing day and that he was hoping for a complete recovery before the French Open.
“Whether it is due to the illness that I had recently, or something like that, I don’t know, probably, but yeah. At least this kind of bad feeling physically came from the fourth match rather than the first match as it was in Monte Carlo, so… Things are progressing, slowly but surely.
Again, Paris is the big goal, hopefully by Paris, I’ll be able to be fit and ready to fight,” he said. Like most players, Novak Djokovic also doesn't have a winning record against Rafael Nadal on clay, winning only eight of his 27 meetings.
However, two of those wins have come at Roland Garros, where Djokovic is the only player to beat the 13-time champion on multiple occasions.