Things don’t seem to be getting better for Novak Djokovic, as he suffered a shocking second-round exit to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Monte Carlo Masters 2022. In what was his first match in over a couple of months, the two-time Monte-Carlo Masters champion was struggling with his movements and shots.
After losing the first set by 6-3, Novak Djokovic made a great comeback to win 10 points in a row and claim the second set. At this point, it looked like he has found his rhythm and would take the decisive set as well. But Djokovic was unable to ride on the momentum, and by the end of the third set, he even stopped trying hard for points.
“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 told at a press conference.
Fokina became the only fourth man to break Djokovic on nine occasions at a Masters event on clay. Before him, only Rafael Nadal (twice), Fernando Verdasco, and Jarkko Nieminen have achieved this feat.
“I would like to congratulate Alejandro. He was the better player. He managed to find a better rhythm I think in the first two sets,” Djokovic said. “I was hanging on the ropes the entire match. I was really chasing the result constantly.”
It has been a tumultuous year for the Serb, whose decision to not get vaccinated has cost him dearly. His visa status was revoked in Australia, and was not eligible to play Masters Events in the USA. He has played only four games in 2022.
With the French Open set to begin next month, Djokovic must regain his mojo to put up a fight for his 21st Grand Slam, which will level him with his arch-rival Rafael Nadal.
Despite the defeat, Djokovic is hopeful of turning things around before the marquee event begins in Paris. “It can turn around quickly on clay and I’m lacking that determination to go for shots on clay.”