World no. 1 Novak Djokovic scored nine victories in Melbourne in February, winning the ninth Australian Open crown and reducing the deficit to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the GOAT race. Staying away from the court for almost two months to heal the injury and spend time with his family, Novak returned in Monte Carlo last week, beating Jannik Sinner in the second round before an unexpected loss to Daniel Evans in straight sets.
Leaving that early exit behind him, Djokovic went home to Belgrade, seeking the first title in front of the home fans in ten years and reaching the semi-final in style. Facing Aslan Karatsev for the second time this year, Novak experienced a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 loss after nearly three and a half hours, giving his best but failing to cross the finish line first after squandering no less than 23 break chances!
Novak is aware that he can't stand a chance at Roland Garros with this level, hoping to improve his game in the upcoming weeks and challenge the top rivals en route to his second Parisian title.
Novak Djokovic failed to reach the final in Monte Carlo and Belgrade.
"Roland Garros still stays the main focus for me.
I need to improve and play better. To have a chance for the trophy at Roland Garros, I have to play much better than what I did against Karatsev or in Monte Carlo. There's much work ahead of me; hopefully, it can be beneficial for me when it matters most in Paris.
It was a good week and a successful tournament in general for us in Belgrade. I'll hopefully play at home in four or five weeks again; that's the plan. Let's see if that's going to happen. But Roland Garros is the goal; that's where I want to play my best.
You never like losing at home, that's for sure. It's painful and disappointing; I don't feel so great now. At the same time, I have to congratulate Karatsev, who played very bravely. Excellent performance from him.
From my side, I played again on a pretty low level, with some flashes of good quality tennis. I was fighting; I mean, that's a positive thing. I was trying all the way. The crowd was great; they wanted to lift me up all the way till the end.
Because of them, I think I won the second set. Unfortunately, he was just the better player in the third, especially in the decisive moments. I had my chances, but, you know, that's sport," Novak Djokovic said.