World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime has opened up after being beaten by Novak Djokovic at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic and admitted it was a "difficult day" for him on court. On Wednesday, Djokovic played his first match of the year on grass and looked sharp as he earned a 6-2, 6-1 win over Auger-Aliassime at the Hurlingham Club.
"He was much better than me, no doubt. It was a difficult day on the track," Auger-Aliassime said after the loss, according to Eurosport. "He was in it. He was playing well. I was struggling a lot with my serve. It seemed to Novak that he hit the ball well and returned it well from the first game."
Djokovic wasted no time on court, breaking Auger-Aliassime in the first game of the match. After losing serve from him in the first game of the match, Auger-Aliassime had a great opportunity to get serve back immediately, but squandered three consecutive break points in the second game.
In game four, Auger-Aliassime squandered another two break points as Djokovic moved into a 3-1 lead. Auger-Aliassime paid the price for wasting five break points, as Djokovic broke again in game seven to open a 5-2 lead, before serving for the first set in the next game.
After losing the first set, Auger-Aliassime served in the first game of the second. Djokovic then absolutely dominated the rest of the match as he grabbed three breaks in a row and won six straight games to finish the match in style.
Djokovic not playing any ATP events before Wimbledon is nothing new. In the past, Djokovic preferred to play a match or two at the Boodles exhibition and use it as a warm-up before Wimbledon.
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21-time doubles Grand Slam champion Pam Shriver, speaking to PICKSWISE, said Novak Djokovic will be gunning to win his first Major of the year.
“He has the hunger and desire to do well. He won’t want [Rafael] Nadal to go three Grand Slams ahead of him after defeat in France and the debacle in Australia earlier this year,” Shriver said. The 59-year-old said that Djokovic is a fantastic player on grass courts and backed him to defend his Wimbledon title this year.
“He is my favorite to win. His grass-court game is superb, he’s won the last two Wimbledons played, and I feel like the French Open getting back to the five-set format, I think he’ll be much more ready for this compared to Paris. Playing grass for him is a different ball game compared to clay,” Shriver said.