Novak Djokovic has not played much tennis since his Australian Open 2021 triumph. The injury he suffered in the tournament took longer than expected to heal, which meant he couldn’t play in the few hard court tournaments that remained before the clay court swing. Djokovic started his clay court sojourn with the Monte Carlo Masters. Such is the aura of Djokovic that he is always the favourite, no matter if he is making a return to court after a couple of months.
At Monte Carlo he started grandly, taking care of Jannik Sinner in straight sets. The win over Sinner in such a comprehensive manner lulled everyone into believing that Djokovic had indeed returned at his best. In the very next round, Djokovic got a taste of reality with a defeat against Dan Evans. Djokovic lost in straight sets 4-6 5-7.
Novak Djokovic praised Karatsev at the end of a forgettable evening
Novak Djokovic was gracious in defeat, he said that Karatsev was bold and he deserved to win. He stressed that Karatsev came up with great shots every time he needed to. Djokovic who was obviously disappointed said that he was not able to recollect any memorable rallies because he had just lost the match. At the end he concluded by saying that there is never bad blood, and we are rivals only on court.
Novak Djokovic said, “Hats off to Karatsev, he was bold and deserved to win, I will probably not be able to recollect all the memorable rallies in this match because I lost.” He continued, “I am not happy with my performance, I put up a fight but he delivered great shots every time he needed to. I was unlucky at times, it all came down to one or two shots but I had too many ups and downs throughout the match.” He concluded by saying,” There is never bad blood, and we are rivals only on court.”