World number one, Novak Djokovic, has suffered an early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters after losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a game of three sets. Djokovic lost 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 in his first game in over a month. The Monte Carlo Masters was the second event Djokovic played in this year as he has been away from events due to his unvaccinated status.
Djokovic’s loss on Tuesday marked the first time since 2018 that he would lose his first match at any event. In February, he lost to Jiri Vesely at the quarterfinal in Dubai, which was the first tournament he was participating in after being denied the chance to play at the Australian Open.
After the match, Djokovic expressed his disappointment at losing and hoped for a better for a better game in Belgrade next week: “I’m disappointed. No one likes to lose. We’re professional athletes. This is what we do. We go out on the court to compete and try to win against each other.
“I didn’t like the way I felt physically in the third set. I just ran out of the gas completely. Just couldn’t really stay in the rally with him. If you can’t stay in the rally, not feeling your legs on the clay, it’s mission impossible.
“So I don’t like that feeling I experienced in the third set, but I’m going to look with my team into reasons why that was the case and go back to the drawing board, and hopefully, next week will be better in Belgrade.”
Being away from the sport for so long may be getting to Djokovic at last, as his performance on Tuesday was quite unlikely. After losing the first set, he fought back to win the second set but could not preserve the momentum as he fell to his opponent’s hands in the third.
Written by: Leon Osamor