Novak Djokovic: Number 1 in the world suffers early departure from Monte Carlo Masters to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina |  tennis news

Novak Djokovic: Number 1 in the world suffers early departure from Monte Carlo Masters to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina | tennis news

Novak Djokovic’s defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina marks the first time he has lost his opening match at a tournament since falling to Marin Klizan in Barcelona in 2018; the world number 1 was exhausted in the deciding set and lost in two hours and 54 minutes

Last updated: 22/04/22 6:14 PM

Novak Djokovic suffered an early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters to Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Novak Djokovic suffered an early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters to Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Novak Djokovic’s lack of competitive fitness caught him in the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday when the world No. 1 left the event at the hands of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Serb, who only played in his second event of the year, committed 51 unforced errors in difficult conditions to take the second round 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1.

Djokovic returned to court for the first time since Dubai in February, where he lost to Jiri Vesely in the quarter-finals, but the world number 46 Spain was much stronger in the deciding set to take home the win.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion had chosen not to attempt to compete in the US hard court swing due to restrictions regarding his vaccination status against Covid-19.

Djokovic, a two-time winner in Monte Carlo, stared at a quick defeat when he lost the first set, then was snapped right at the start of the second.

The Spaniard showed his inexperience with an unnecessary dive at the start of the seventh game of the set, sparking fears of injury and enabling Djokovic to finish 10 points in a row as he broke back to struggle for love to get the upper hand .

The momentum returned to Davidovich Fokina as Djokovic, serving for the set, conjured four unforced errors that allowed his opponent to break back and eventually force a tie-break.

But after coming back from a 4-2 deficit to win the break, Djokovic’s lack of match training showed as he was broken three more times in a one-sided deciding set.

9 vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at Monte Carlo Masters (most in best-of-three sets)

9 vs Dominic Thiem at French Open 2019

9 vs Rafael Nadal at the 2012 French Open

9 vs Guillermo Lopez at Wimbledon 2005

9 vs Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open

“This win is so special to me because I grew up watching Nole (Djokovic) and I’m a big fan of his,” said Davidovich Fokina in his post-match interview.

“I knew Nole didn’t have the confidence because he didn’t play much this season. I had my chances early in the game and I took them.”

“When he won the second set it was tough mentally, but I work hard to be focused. I had to be prepared for the war.”

British Dan Evans defeated Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-0 7-6 (7-4) in the opening game of the day to reach the second round of the prestigious clay court tournament.

Last year’s semifinalist takes on David Goffin after the Belgian defeated Jiri Lehecka 6-4 6-3.

Cameron Norrie, who has climbed into the top 10 in the world, will face the world’s number 37, Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Wednesday.

Nadal skips Barcelona Open, return date still uncertain

Rafael Nadal is still unsure when he can return to competitive tennis

Rafael Nadal is still unsure when he can return to competitive tennis

Rafael Nadal is still unsure when he can return to competitive tennis after withdrawing from this month’s ATP event in Barcelona as he recovers from a rib injury.

The Spaniard, who has won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, was out for up to six weeks last month with a stress fracture to his rib.

Nadal last month complained of a chest problem during his run to the finals of the ATP 1000 event in Indian Wells.

Tests in Barcelona revealed “a stress fracture of the third left costal arch”.

Next month, Madrid and Rome will host ATP Masters 1000 events and Nadal hopes to compete to get matches under his belt ahead of the French Open from May 22 – June 5, which he has won a record 13 times.

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