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“I collapsed. I couldn’t move anymore” – Beaten in Monte-Carlo, Djokovic hopes to build form in time for Roland-Garros

The world No 1 fell to No 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on his return to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters on Tuesday

Novak Djokovic acknowledges spectators as he walks off the court after losing his second round match against Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters 2022 Novak Djokovic acknowledges spectators as he walks off the court after losing his second round match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters 2022 Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Draw Order of play

World No 1 Novak Djokovic said he physically collapsed towards the end of his three-set loss to Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the ATP Monte-Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Playing only his second tournament of the season, Djokovic was defeated by world No 46 Fokina 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 in two hours, 54 minutes.

The Serb appeared to be headed for an early exit as the Spaniard went up a set and 3-0 in the second. Once the Serb fought his way back and managed to win the second set in a tiebreak, it looked as if he might be able to pull off another of his incredible comebacks to win.

But Djokovic faded in the deciding set as Fokina went on to break his serve nine times in all.

“Of course I’m disappointed. No one likes to lose,” he said. “We are professional athletes. This is what we do. We go out on the court to compete and try to win against each other. I didn’t like the way I felt physically in the third. I just ran out of the gas completely. Just couldn’t really stay in the rally with him. I mean, if you can’t stay in the rally, not feeling your legs on the clay, it’s mission impossible.”

Djokovic said he will go back to the drawing board with his team and hopes his next event – in his native Belgrade – will be better.

“So I don’t like that, that kind of feeling I experienced in the third, but I’m going to look with my team into reasons why that was the case and go back to the drawing board and hopefully next week will be better in Belgrade.

“I was hanging on the ropes the entire match. I was really chasing the result constantly. But he could have won this match in straight sets, and I just kind of fought my way through to the third, but then I was just physically, completely — I collapsed. You know, I couldn’t move anymore.

“I expected this match to be really tough match, physical battle, and that’s what it was. Unfortunately I’m on the shorter end of the stick, and my week ends here. I have to try to be optimistic and build, as I said, to Roland -Garros and where I want to peak.”

I’m not gonna stop here. I’m going to keep going and hopefully build my form for Roland-Garros: Djokovic

With a 2-2 record in 2022, Djokovic is looking forward to playing a full clay court schedule in Europe, where the current rules do not pose a problem for unvaccinated players such as himself. The Serb will play his home event in Belgrade, followed by Masters Series events in Madrid and Rome before the French Open in late May.

“I’m not gonna stop here. I’m going to keep going and hopefully build my form for Roland-Garros. You know, that’s the big goal of the clay season. I knew a few days ago when I spoke to you (the media) I knew that it’s going to take some time for me to really feel my best on the clay. I mean, that’s historically always been the case. Never played very well in the opening tournaments of the clay season. You know, obviously it is what it is. I have to accept the defeat and keep working.”

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