Following a very disappointing March which saw him lose early at both Indian Wells and Miami, Novak Djokovic hopes to get back on track in his home event in Monte Carlo this week.
“Certainly I was disappointed because I thought I was playing better and better and I thought I could go far. But at the same time it is what it is and as I said I’ll try to look on the positive side,” Djokovic said of his March slump. “I’ve had great form the past 12 months, great form. And other than those two tournaments, all the others I’ve played were at least the semifinals or finals, most of the tournaments I played. That can serve only as an incentive so to say, or a confidence boost, prior to clay season.”
Djokovic is a 2-time Monte Carlo champion, and no surprise, he pegs Rafael Nadal as the favorite, but then leaves it open after that.
“If he’s physically fit he’s definitely the No. 1 guy on this surface, without a doubt,” he said of the Spaniard.
“After him, it’s quite open,” Djokovic added. “Zverev has done really well on clay the past few years. Dominic Thiem, of course. Roger is going to play as well this season, so that’s great for tennis. I think it is pretty open.”
Novak also looks forward to the transition to clay.
“Obviously clay is a completely different surface. It’s very demanding physically, tactically, you have to be more patient, resilient, more enduring,” Djokovic said. “You have to be able to construct the point in various ways. It is a slow surface.
“Clay courts here in Monaco are probably the slowest of the big ones that we have on the Tour. My game and everybody’s game will be tested big-time, but that’s why we’re here.”
The World No. 1 will face the man who stunned him at Indian Wells, Philipp Kohlschreiber, in his opener.
A year ago, Djokovic fell to Dominic Thiem in the third round.
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