Djokovic practised with his conqueror from last year’s first edition of the Serbia Open, Aslan Karatsev, on Tuesday. Under the watchful eyes of Serbian tennis fans and journalists at his home tournament, the 20-time Major champion was said to have complained and shouted at his team, according to Blic.
The world No 1 has played just two events so far this season and gone 2-2 in wins and losses, and has admitted that he is hoping to play more matches at his own Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade than he did last week in Monte Carlo to gain some momentum. It seems the lack of competition is getting to Djokovic, as he let his frustrations show in the fiery practice session.
“I don’t see anything,” he complained to his team as the clay was blown around the court in windy conditions, also saying: “Clay flies in my eyes non-stop.” Djokovic also insisted on repeating every point he made a mistake on, clearly wanting to improve after admitting he suffered a “physical collapse” in his three-set loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
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While Karatsev was happy to keep going over points and fire balls at Djokovic as many times as he asked, the 34-year-old still appeared dissatisfied with his level as he continued to shake his head, and even shouted at coach Gorin Ivanisevic, demanding: “Please, tell me what to do.” The defending French Open champion was also asking Ivanisevic and physio Miljan Amanovic to bring him a towel after every point.
Djokovic has made no secret of the importance of his training in Belgrade, pushing back his pre-tournament press conference so he could get in sessions both before and after. “I’m sorry about that,” he told reporters at his presser. “I had four practices – twice fitness, twice tennis – so I was really tired. I need all the matches I can get here in order to prepare even better for Roland Garros.”
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