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Novak Djokovic loses first match at Monte Carlo Masters

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Novak Djokovic lost his first match at Monte Carlo Masters.
Novak Djokovic lost his first match at Monte Carlo Masters to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Photo/Tennis Majors
  • Alejandro Davidovich Fokina thrashed Novak Djokovic in three sets 1 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1)
  • It was the first match Djokovic was playing for the 2022 season since his deportation from Australia
  • He also missed out on Indian Wells and Miami Open tournaments over what he said were rigid Covid-19 rules
  • Djokovic admitted lacking motivation for shots on clay which Rafael Nadal rules

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina disappointed Rafael Nadal in his first match of the season at Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco Tuesday.

The shock in the tennis community was compounded when Djokovic Nadal fell to unseeded Fokina in his opening encounter.

Fokina thrashed the world No.1 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1). Djokovic’s breakdown in the third set against Fokina was a surprise, given that he had not played since losing to Jiri Vesely at the hands of the 123rd-ranked player in February.

Djokovic was expected to put his foot on the accelerator pedal and surge past his opponent in a manner that used to be the norm after coming back from defeat in the second set tie-break.

But he did not do this as Fokina came out in full force to win the Monte Carlo Masters opening match.

Novak Djokovic lost his first match at Monte Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic lost his first match at Monte Carlo Masters. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

“I was up all three service games I lost in the third set and I played some loose points, some drop shots and double faults,” Djokovic said in a post-match conference according to Tennis365.

He explained that the dynamics of the clay court are challenging and he lacks the zeal to go all out for shots.

“It can turn around quickly on clay and I’m lacking that determination to go for shots on clay.

However, the Serbian praised Fokina on his moves during the game.

“He (Fokina) has improved his movement a lot since last year and deserves to be where he is, but I am aiming to peak at the French Open. It is a long season, let’s see how it goes.”

Djokovic had warned earlier that he will not be at his best given that he hasn’t played a tennis match since the season started.

“I understand that I probably won’t be at my best at the beginning of this week,” said Djokovic according to Tennis365.

As a result of his reluctance to take a Covid-19 vaccine, he missed the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami Open.

It’s now time for the 20-time Grand Slam champion to get back into the swing of things as he gears up for the French Open.

Djokovic felt motivated to go back where it all happens – especially in Monaco where he last played 10 years ago.

“I am still testing my engine, so to say, and building my game, so it will take obviously some time, some matches to really get in the groove and find the competitive play that I really need.

“I still feel motivated to be on the Tour and compete with young guys and try to challenge the best players in the world for the biggest titles,” Djokovic said.

“I’m very pleased to be here and Monaco has been home for over 10 years.”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Photo/Insideheadline

This is Djokovic’s first clay-court season without Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, two of his most formidable opponents.

Recently, Marcelo Rios, the former world No.1 branded Djokovic the ‘king of stupidity’ over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Rios, while speaking to La Tercera said it beats logic having Djokovic run away from making history due to a jab.

“It’s stupid, he is going to give up the race and he is not going to be the best in history because of a vaccine,” Rios said.

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