Andy Roddick has discussed Novak Djokovic’s early exit at the Monte-Carlo Masters
Andy Roddick believes Novak Djokovic may adopt a slightly heavier schedule to prepare for Roland Garros after losing his opening match at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters. The former World No. 1 insisted, though, that the Serb’s performance in his defeat at the ATP Masters 1000 event was “not a big thing to worry about.”
Djokovic was beaten 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1 by World No. 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round at Monte-Carlo after receiving a first-round bye. The 34-year-old revealed in his post-match press conference that he “ran out of gas completely” in the third set.
The World No. 1 had not played since losing to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February in his only other tournament appearance so far this season.
Speaking on Tennis Channel Live, Roddick identified Djokovic’s lack of recent competitive action as the reason for his physical struggles.
“You can’t fake tournament reps,” Roddick said. “You can play five hours in practice, but when you get the adrenaline and you get the nerves, it’s its own kind of exhaust mechanism and when you haven’t dealt with that recently – I mean he’s very short on matches since the US Open last year. So, it was a big ask. And what Novak was hoping to do was turn it around, get through, survive this match and then find his game later on. Credit to Davidovich Fokina.”
The 2003 US Open champion also pointed to the Serb’s movement as an issue, while predicting that he might play some extra claycourt tournaments in the coming weeks.
“Also, when you’re coming back and you’re Novak, the last thing you want is really blustery conditions, right? Where your feet aren’t quite under you,” Roddick added. “I don’t think Novak moved that well today, I felt like he was lunging a lot more than he normally did. The switch of directions wasn’t quite there. Not a big thing to worry about, all to be expected. But expect him to maybe sneak in another tournament or two, play a little bit of a heavier schedule until he finds that footing. Obviously with the goal being Roland Garros.”
Djokovic is next set to play at the Serbia Open ATP 250 tournament in Belgrade, which will run from April 18-24.
“Novak Djokovic was trying to survive, this was a battle of attrition for the guys out there to see who could really manage the situation” – Paul Annacone
Djokovic and Davidovich Fokina embrace after their match at the 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters
During the Tennis Channel discussion, Paul Annacone also assessed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina’s upset victory over Novak Djokovic at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters. The former World No. 12 praised the 22-year-old Spaniard’s resilience in earning the biggest win of his career.
“He wants to come back in an environment where he can see how he’s doing,” Annacone said. “He was trying to survive today, this was a battle of attrition for the guys out there to see who could really manage the situation. And you have to give the 22-year-old a ton of credit.””Every time Novak snuck back in, I would take a breath and go, ‘Oh, here comes the great player – time for the young guy to go away.’ And he didn’t, he did a great job in the big moments,” Annacone continued. “Particularly, start of the third set, down break point in the first game, held and then ran away with it. It was impressive.”
Davidovich Fokina will face either David Goffin or Dan Evans in the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. He reached the quarterfinals in Monte-Carlo in 2021.