• Tournament
  • Scores
  • Media
  • Tickets
  • Hospitality
  • Practical information
  • Animations
  • JOBS

Djokovic: ‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves’


Novak Djokovic was delighted with his sharp play Tuesday when he kicked off his clay-court season at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in dominant fashion. Despite his convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory against Roman Safiullin, the Serbian was quick to keep his expectations in check as he chases his first title of the year.

“It’s a great start. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and put the hopes too high,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference. “It’s only one match, but the way I felt, I’m really pleased. It’s just the beginning of the tournament. It’s one match. I’m going to hope to work tomorrow to maintain that rhythm and focus, obviously try to perform as well as I did in the second match as I did today.”

A 98-time tour-level titlist, Djokovic is 9-3 on the season, with his best result a semi-final run at the Australian Open. The Belgrade native last month suffered an early exit at the BNP Paribas Open, where he fell to Luca Nardi in the third round.

Having failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals in his seven most recent appearances in the Principality, two-time tournament champion Djokovic will hope this is the week he can return to top form and change that record. Committing just nine unforced errors and advancing after 70 minutes Tuesday was an encouraging start for the 24-time major champion.

“I really like the way I felt today on the court, the way I was striking the ball,” Djokovic said. “I think the two, three weeks of training I had is paying off. [I had a] good training block with [Nenad] Zimonjic and with the team.

“We put in a lot of hours into thinking about the game, the movement, and things that haven’t really worked for me in the first couple tournaments of this year that I played.”

The 36-year-old, who on Sunday became the oldest No. 1 in PIF ATP Rankings history, is chasing a record-extending 41st ATP Masters 1000 crown this week. Should he lift the trophy, it would mark the top seed’s third sweep of all nine Masters 1000 tournaments.

Having won in the Principality in 2013 and 2015, Djokovic will next meet Italian Lorenzo Musetti or #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils in the third round. Last year, Musetti upset Djokovic in Monte-Carlo in the same round.

“I’m not scared of anything and anybody, but I really hope that I can get the chance to play him again, get the matchup, another matchup here,” said Djokovic, who leads Musetti 3-1 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series. “He obviously is one of the most talented players on clay, a beautiful one-handed backhand. He’s very athletic. He can do a lot of great things. He’s one of the most promising young players not only from Italy, but generally for the world.”

Asked about a potential first meeting with Fils, Djokovic also spoke highly of the 19-year-old.

“He’s only going upwards. He’s a very promising player,” Djokovic said. “He won his first title last year in Lyon. He’s a really strong guy physically. He puts a lot of weight on his shots, particularly from the forehand, and he is very athletic as well.

“Both [Musetti and Fils] are very young, promising players. Probably both of them prefer clay as the best surface for both of them. They play with a lot of spin compared to Safiullin today, [who] was playing quite flat. It’s a different matchup for me.”

Other news
Tsitsipas: Why overcoming Sinner ‘obstacle’ was key to Monte-Carlo progress

Greek reflects on triumph

Read more
Ruud: ‘I have taken steps in the right direction’

Norwegian lost to Tsitsipas in Sunday’s Monte-Carlo final.

Read more
Tsitsipas rules again! Greek soars to third Monte-Carlo title

Greek wins third title in the Principality.

Read more