Djokovic “physically collapses” in Monte Carlo comeback
Djokovic made his long-awaited return in Monte Carlo last week, in what was just his second tournament of the year after his unvaccinated status had kept him out of several events, with his only prior result a quarter-final showing in Dubai where he lost to qualifier Jiri Vesely. The Serb’s comeback was short-lived as he received a bye to the second round and lost to then-world No 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1.
Speaking about his early exit, the two-time former champion in Monte Carlo said: “Physically I completely collapsed. I couldn’t move any more. I didn’t like the way I felt in the end. I need to talk with my team. He was the better player. I was hanging on the ropes the entire match. I just ran out of gas completely. If you can’t stay in the rally, not feeling your legs on the clay, it’s mission impossible.”
The 20-time Major champion is now back in action in this week’s Serbia Open, held in his own Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade where his brother Djordje is the tournament director. He faces the winner of a clash between his two countrymen Laslo Djere and Hamad Medjedovic in his first match and has opened up on his aims for the week after a slow start to his clay season in Monaco. “I was not fully ready for the tournament in Monte Carlo and I knew that before the tournament started,” he said. “However, I need match practice and this is the surface (clay) that requires a lot of time spent on the court during training sessions, and even more during matches. I hope to play more matches in Belgrade than in Monte Carlo.”
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Federer and Nadal issue hopeful injury updates
Federer and Nadal both took to social media over the last week to share positive news about their respective comebacks from injury. The Swiss star has played just five tournaments in the last 26 months after undergoing double knee surgery in 2020 and suffered a “setback” in his comeback last year, going under the knife for a third time.
He has finally been able to return to a more intense training plan, sharing photos and videos from his practice sessions in the gym where he can be seen working on his footwork and strokes, replicating forehand and backhand motions with a pole, saying rehab was “rockinggggggg”. Meanwhile, Nadal shared an update on Easter Monday as he returned to the practice court for the first time in four weeks, since he picked up a stress fracture in his rib during his Indian Wells semi-final.
The world No 4 was forced to withdraw from this week’s Barcelona Open as his team admitted last week they were unsure where he would make his comeback but there has finally been some progress for the ‘King of Clay’ as he wrote: “Today after 4 weeks without stepping on a tennis court, first light training”.