World No. 1 Novak Djokovic failed to reach the Madrid Masters final, but renowned tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou says the Serb is back, just in time for the French Open. After struggling in his first tournaments of the year, Djokovic performed much better in Madrid.
After beating Gael Monfils and Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets, Djokovic suffered a narrow three-set loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-final. Although Djokovic lost, he competed at a high level against Alcaraz. In the end, Alcaraz ran away with a narrow 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) victory.
Alcaraz beat Rafael Nadal on Friday and is playing at a very high level. "Novak is back. Not only his game is, but also his concentration and mental strength. High level performance so far against amazing Carlos Alcaraz," Mouratoglou tweeted during the match.
Djokovic had a chance to win in straight sets, but he didn't take it. In the ninth game of the second set, Djokovic squandered two break points that could have given him a 7-6(5) 5-4 lead and a chance to serve for the match.
Djokovic failed to convert two break points in the ninth game and also missed a break point in the eleventh game. Djokovic suffered a break in the twelfth game and Alcaraz sent the match to the final. In the third set, Djokovic saved a match point in the 10th game and one more in the tie-break, but could not save the third as Alcaraz sealed a three-set win.
"I don't know what the difference was [between us]," Alcaraz said after the first meeting with Djokovic.
Djokovic has enjoyed success at the Rome Masters
Ahead of his tournament opener at the Rome Masters, Novak Djokovic hailed his rivalry with Rafael Nadal as special.
The duo are set to meet in the last four at the Foro Italico this week. "In Madrid, I was 100% even though I had a long and exhausting battle with Alcaraz that went for almost three and a half hours. I was recovered pretty well the next day.
I'm pleased about that. I thought I performed really well in all of my matches," the Serb said. Novak Djokovic has enjoyed success at the Rome Masters over the years, winning five of his 10 finals, making it one of his most successful claycourt tournaments.
"I have played quite a few finals here in Rome," he said. "It is my most successful claycourt tournament, without a doubt, for a reason as well. The relationship that I have with people here, speaking Italian language helps as well, connecting with people more."