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Djokovic makes Nadal favourite in Monte Carlo as Wawrinka wins opener

17 April, 2019, 11:36 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Roger Federer on clay

"After him, it's quite open", Djokovic said of the contenders on clay.

Nadal will meet his compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round on Wednesday, the first match following his withdrawal from the BNP Paribas Open last month.

After winning the Australian Open, Djokovic had a blip few saw coming when he failed to reach the quarterfinals at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

A five-week break between Australia and Indian Wells cost Djokovic some momentum, and he had to answer many questions about his role, as president of the ATP Player Council, in the decision not to renew the contract of ATP president Chris Kermode at the end of this year. But after winning the first set against clay-court stalwart Dominic Thiem, Djokovic could not maintain his level as the Austrian upped his, eventually losing in a three-setter in the Round of 16 after two hours and 29 minutes. There are a lot of guys who are tough on clay, especially Rafa and Novak (Dkjokovic).

The top seed said that while he would prefer to head to Paris with a title in his pocket, it's not a desperate situation. "I'm looking forward to playing this year". "'I mean, he's been playing some great tennis lately". And other than those two tournaments, all the others I've played were at least the semi-finals or finals, most of the tournaments I played. "That can serve only as an incentive, so to say, or confidence boost prior to clay season". "This surface suits his game more and this event suits him even more than some tournaments on clay".

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic resides in Monte-Carlo, so he won't have to travel far to try to win his third Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title.

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Speaking ahead of the tournament, Djokovic said he was expecting the conditions to be slow in Monte Carlo.

But this is Nadal, and this is clay, a surface on which he has been as dominant as anyone in history. "It's very demanding physically, tactically, you have to be more patient, resilient, more enduring", Djokovic said.

"My game and everybody's game will be tested big-time, but that's why we're here".

"It's great to play at home".

"Now it's about working every day, trying to make small improvements in every practice, because I had to stop after Indian Wells for a while again and start slow, so it's always like a comeback", he said. "The transformation of this club is quite awesome compared to the other times of the year when you don't have a tournament it's really calm and there's not many people". In that tournament the German single hander Kohlschreiber beat Djokovic in 2 straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to score his second career win against the legendary Serbian.

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