Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 22, was watching the 2017 Monte Carlo final between Rafael Nadal and Albert Ramos-Viñolas and dreamed of one day making a big appearance in the Principality. This week, Davidovich Fokina's dreams came true as he stunned World No.
1 Novak Djokovic to reach his first Monte Carlo Masters final. "Last year I made the quarterfinals and I had to walk out without an audience, with nothing, you know, it was like very sad," Davidovich Fokina said. "This year I had my first match on the center court already with a full audience.
It's different. For me it's different to play here from the rest of the tournaments, because I was watching TV every year, Rafa (Nadal) when he beat (Albert) Ramos-Vinolas (in the 2017 final), and I was, like, I want to be there one day playing with the best players.
I had a lot of emotions playing here, because since I was little I watched this tournament. It's like I'm enjoying myself, and I'm really happy to be here and, you know, beating the strongest guys on tour right now, it's like I can be there."
Djokovic was playing in just his second tournament of the season and was clearly far from his best. Davidovich Fokina took advantage of Djokovic's lack of games and stunned the Serb 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1.
Nadal has resumed training
7 Casper Ruud recently delved deeper into the reasons behind Rafael Nadal's mind-boggling dominance on clay. "He plays every point very, very strictly and with order, like it’s his last point. I have heard him say that many times before and that’s the reason he never gives you room to breathe," Casper Ruud said.
"You don’t get too many free points from him in a match or when you play points [in practice]. With the clay, sometimes it’s more physically demanding because you play longer rallies and longer matches, and he’s there ready for it.
I have practised with him quite a bit and I think he never gives you room to breathe when you play against him on clay. All the shots he produces are very heavy to face because he puts a lot of topspin and they bounce very high," Ruud said.
"Any time you need to play a shot above shoulder height from the baseline or when you play groundstrokes, it’s tough. It’s tough to get good enough depth back when he plays these heavy shots, so he gets a chance many times to move forward and go for an aggressive shot."