Novak Djokovic enjoyed a special treat after his victory in the opening game of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Tuesday. George Russell, the Mercedes Formula 1 star, was watching the world number 1’s game from the stands when their paths crossed. Russell was quick to inquire about the Serb’s impression of the fight with Ivan Gakhov. “It was good. It’s a solid start, but it could always get better,” Djokovic replied, according to the official ATP website. “Perfection is the level at which you want to get better, want to improve.”
“What I find so difficult for you guys is, especially when you’re playing second, third or fourth place, you never know the timing,” Russell said to Djokovic.
“It’s a challenge and today I waited maybe an hour and a half or two longer than I expected. Then you ask yourself, ‘Should I warm up or cool down’, and that makes you a little bit anxious,” Djokovic said.
“We have Azerbaijan next. We just got back from Melbourne,” Russell said.
“How long does it take for you to get used to the time change?” asked Djokovic.
“Melbourne’s killers. It’s probably been a week before I come back,” the Brit replied.
Read more – Monte Carlo Masters 2023: Novak Djokovic makes a winning start in Monaco
“We actually have a few weeks off, Azerbaijan, and then the season really kicks off,” continued Russell.
“Then Monte-Carlo after that?” asked Djokovic.
“Miami, then Monte Carlo,” Russell said.
“They don’t really keep you on the continents, do they?” Djokovic added. “They kinda move you around the world.”
Novak Djokovic wins in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic successfully resumed play at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday. The world No. 1 was in danger of dropping the opening set after a fierce challenge from world No. 198 Ivan Gakhov. However, Djokovic skillfully handled the pressure situations to progress in a 7-6(5), 6-2 win. Gakhov entered the qualifying field as the fourth deputy, taking a chance to enter the main draw and win his first ATP Tour match to advance to the second round. Unlike Gakhov, who played at tour level in his third match, Djokovic played in his 1,254. game and that experience paid off in crucial situations.
“It was probably, if you can call it that, an ugly tennis win for me today,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “I didn’t do my best, especially in the first set. And I kind of expected that to happen with swirling conditions, lots of wind today and changing directions. It’s different to practice and then play an official match on clay, [where] I think no two bounces are the same. It’s always pretty unpredictable what’s going to happen. But all in all, I’m just happy with the way I kept my nerves in the important moments and was able to win the two sets.”
“I’ve never seen Ivan play before, to be honest. I saw a bit of his video from yesterday’s game and that’s all,” Djokovic said of his opponent that day. “It wasn’t the best preparation but he’s a young player coming off the Challenger Tour and he just had a run.”
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