Novak Djokovic Upbeat Following Latest Monte Carlo Struggle
Defending champion Novak Djokovic exit the premier court at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday seeking answers following a roller-coaster 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, win over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
The world No.2 was pushed to his limits by his inspired opponent, who at times played at a level much greater than his current ranking of 19th. Djokovic was on course for a straight sets win after racing to a 6-2, 2-0, lead. Things then swiftly turned sour for the Serbian and his camp as he suffered three straight breaks in his service game to enable Carreno Busta to level the match at a set apiece. Despite Djokovic’s patchy performance, which featured 39 unforced errors, he managed to prevail after almost two-and-a-half hours of play.
“It’s another good performance from my side, I take the positives out of it. Mentally these kind of wins means a lot to me.” Djokovic told Sky Sports.
During his second set slump, the 29-year-old appeared to be troubled by the lighting as the sun began to set on the venue. Not that his opponent appeared overly affected by it. One theory is the glare from the sun distracted Djokovic, who wears contact lenses. Nevertheless, he refuses to use that or the cooler temperature as an excuse for his performance.
“I don’t want it to seem as if I am complaining.” He said. “Throughout the second set there was a very awkward angle with the sun. Also the past couple of days it has been colder, so the ball is slower, which I guess is more suitable for Carreno Busta.”
It is the second consecutive match that Djokovic has been forced to three sets. On Tuesday he outlasted France’s Gilles Simon 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, in a performance that left many unanswered questions. Drawing parallels between the two matches, the multiple grand slam champion failed to explain the reason behind his roller coaster form. Djokovic has been troubled with an elbow injury to the lead-up to the clay season.
“I survived both matches. I just Put myself in both matches in a very uncomfortable position. I was leading by a set and a break in the first match, a set and a break today. Everything was working just fine and then too many unforced errors. (I) Just completely lost the control with my shots and Pablo started gaining confidence.” He explained.
“The match could have easily gone his way”
Whilst his first two rounds has been far from flawless, Djokovic still remain one the favourites to win in Monte Carlo this week. His chances have been enhanced following a day shocks with Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka both crashing out. Still, in a season where he failed to reach the semifinals at three consecutive tournaments, Djokovic is taking nothing for granted.
“I haven’t played my best tennis this year. This week I have been playing some good tennis on and off. I just focus on the next match.” Djokovic admitted.
Djokovic will play Belgium’s David Goffin in the quarter-finals on Friday. He currently leads their head-to-head 5-0.