Failure of the 1st racket of the world! Djokovic sensationally lost in Monaco to a Spaniard with Russian roots
Serbian Novak Djokovic sensationally lost in Monte Carlo to Alejandro Davidovic-Fokine of Spain. The world ranking leader broke his winning streak of 11 matches on the court.
A week ago the men’s tour began its grassroots spring season with ATP250 tournaments in Marrakech and Houston. But top players who traditionally start their career on sand with the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo didn’t go to those tournaments. It should be noted that the total prize fund this year is €5,415,410, of which the winner will get €836,335. That’s about 1.5 times less than American Masters in Indian Wells and Miami. On top of that, the champion will receive 1,000 rating points.
It should be stressed that a whole group of famous players did not come to the Monte Carlo Masters. Because of an injury misses the start of the mainland season, the 11-times champion of the tournament Rafael Nadal. The No.2 ranking player Daniil Medvedev has also decided to undergo an operation for hernia removal, who will now be back in action at the best time for Roland Garros. The last Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini had an operation on his hand. He will not be back in the lineup of the 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem. Gaël Monfils, Roberto Bautista Agut (No.14 seed) and Kristjan Garin withdrew after the schedule of Monte Carlo 2022 was published. But spectators in Monaco saw three-time Slam winner Stan Wawrinka. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who was not allowed to go to USA because of his vaccination stance, returned to the tour.
There were three Russians on the court. Last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev as a high seeded tennis player (5) will start in the second round with a match against Australian Alex de Minor. Andrei was drawn in the bottom quarter of the net together with the number two seeded Alexander Zverev (2). Stephanos Tsitsipas (3) or Felix Auger-Allassim (6) could meet them in the semifinals. Djokovic (1) and the main sensation of recent months, 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz (8) were in the top quarter of the net. Two more Russians didn’t receive a seeded number and started in the first round. Aslan Karatsev got a qualifier from Denmark – Holger Rune, and Karen Khachanov – Argentine Diego Schwartzman (12). Unfortunately, Karen continued his losing streak which had already reached four matches. Karatsev also lost. Thus, only one Russian player (Rublev) left on the court.
The main event of Monte-Carlo 2022 was, of course, the return of Novak Djokovic. The world number one was sensationally denied entry to Australia for his first Grand Slam tournament of the season. Because of his vaccination stance, the Serb also missed the March Masters tie in the United States, Indian Wells-Miami. In fact, Novak has played only one tournament this year in Dubai, where he could only reach the quarterfinals.
Djokovic shouldn’t have any problems with his participation in the primetime series. All the countries where the tournaments will take place are rapidly easing the restrictions on the kovid. The Serb has serious plans for the coming weeks – he needs to defend a lot of points to keep the first place in the ATP ranking and not to let Daniil Medvedev ahead. Meanwhile, on May 9, taking into account the burned-out points, the gap between the Russian and the Serb could be 250 points in favor of Daniel. That is why Novak needs to close this gap as soon as possible.
It should be noted that for Djokovic the clay is quite a comfortable surface, as well as all the others. He won Roland Garros twice, as well as multiple wins at the Masters and lower tournaments. As for Monte Carlo, he was the champion here in 2013 and 2015. The Serb is undefeated on the mainland since May 2021. The last time he lost on this surface was in the final of Rome 2021 to Rafael Nadal. Then he took home titles in Belgrade and Roland Garros. So he came to his first match in Monte Carlo 2022 with a winning streak of 11 matches.
Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina, a Spaniard with Russian roots, was Djokovic’s first opponent at the tournament. The tennis players have already met twice in 2021, and in both cases Novak won confidently – in Rome (6-2, 6-1) and at the Olympics (6-3, 6-1). This time, however, Alejandro discouraged the world ranking leader from the very first minutes with his pressure and desire to win. The Spaniard led by two break points, 4-1. And only after this Djokovic began to feel his game. At first he could not serve and made mistakes during shoot offs. And with 1:4 the Serb managed to get back one break. For some time Novak kept the game, but in the ninth game he allowed his opponent to get his third break – 3:6 in 45 minutes.
The second set began again with the Spaniard’s desperate attempts to take the lead. He fought without sparing himself, falling down and getting abrasions. The doctor even approached him at the crossing to treat his wounds. The Spaniard led again with a break, 2-0. Novak tried to win back, but Alejandro saved his game with five break points – 3:0. However, by this moment the Spaniard had dropped back and Djokovic was drawing his opponent into longer and longer break points. He started to break the game 4-4, then 5-5. They reached a tie-break game and Novak was more persistent – 7-6 (7-5) in 1 hour and 22 minutes. The match went to the third set.
After playing hard to win the second game, Djokovic seemed to have turned the tide and would not give the Spaniard a chance. But in the first game of the third set Alejandro broke the break. Then Novak saved three break points. However, with the score three to one, the Spaniard first broke one more point and then took the third serve from the world ranking leader – 6:3, 6:7, 6:1 in 2 hours and 56 minutes.