Novak Djokovic has achieved two notable records in the opening five months of the 2021 season, moving to 18 Major titles and securing the most weeks as world no. 1. After the eighth Australian Open crown, Novak took a break and stayed off the court for almost two months, returning in Monte Carlo and Belgrade and failing to go all the way.
After skipping Madrid, Novak found the form in Rome and reached the final, losing to Rafael Nadal in three sets and hoping for a better run in Belgrade this week. Alex Corretja believes that Novak needs rhythm to reach his A-game and fight for a Major title, using those pre-Major encounters to shape up his game and prepare for the best-of-five matches.
Corretja backs Novak to keep the intelligent schedule and throw everything at Majors, as it doesn't matter if he would win 36 or 40 Masters 1000 titles. "Novak Djokovic doesn't need to play all of the time, but he needs rhythm to stand as a Major contender.
He has the kind of game that he needs to put a lot of balls on the court to get the feeling that he wants. The good thing for him is that when he plays many of the players, they play similar to him but at a different level.
Most of the guys now hit very hard with the serve, the forehand and a two-handed backhand, so they face a better mirror than they are; that's why players have so many problems against Novak. But for that, Novak needs to get matches under his belt because otherwise, it's complicated.
Alex Corretja spoke about Novak Djokovic, his schedule and level ahead of Paris.
Even if he's no. 1 in the world and winning so many Majors, the thing with Novak is that when he plays, he really needs to put in the effort; he's not like others who used to win a bit easier.
I believe he has solved that with a better serve and excellent footwork, but at the same time, he still needs to play matches to get the feeling and especially his movement. Mobility is essential for his game. I think it's very smart to reduce the number of tournaments because if he plays many of those, he's consuming a lot of energy on events that can't improve his legacy at this point.
If he's got 36 Masters 1000 or 38 or 40, no one would really care. However, adding another Major would make everyone feeling special about it. To do that, Novak needs to select which tournaments will give him the rhythm he needs to get perfect preparation for a Major.
If he feels like playing Rome, having a week off, and now playing Belgrade, that's precisely the rhythm he needs to put himself in perfect shape for Roland Garros. If Novak feels with one tournament, he feels it's enough to get to Roland Garros; that's what he will do.
I think that's what he should do because at his age, with the number of tournaments he's got, he needs to do that; otherwise, it's impossible," Alex Corretja said.