Roland-Garros: With Djokovic’s former coach by his side, Molcan sets up clash against the world No 1

Alex Molcan defeated Federico Coria in four sets on Tuesday to set up a second round showdown against world No 1 Novak Djokovic

Alex Molcan at the ATP Lyon Open Alex Molcan at the ATP Lyon Open Image Credit: Sandrine Thesillat / Panoramic

On paper, the second round clash at Roland-Garros between 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and 24-year-old Alex Molcan, ranked No 38 in the world, should be like any other round of 64 encounter at a Major.

However, there is a fascinating sub-plot in this match which makes it rather interesting. Molcan is now coached by Marian Vajda, the former coach of Djokovic, who worked with the Serb for several years and coached Djokovic through all of his 20 Slams.

The pair split for the second time at the end of last season and Vajda was motivated to take up his next coaching assignment to help his fellow Slovak Molcan.

Alex Molcan is already playing some of the best tennis of his career, climbing 50 spots after reaching the finals in Marrakech and Lyon this year.

On Tuesday, the left-hander scored a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Argentine Federico Coria to reach the second round at the French Open and set up a second career meeting against Djokovic, but the first with Vajda by his side.

Speaking to the press on Monday after his first-round win over Yoshihito Nishioka, Djokovic admitted that seeing Vajda on the opposing player’s box is something he is not looking forward to.

Paris (Grand Slam): Wednesday men’s first-round results (Stade Roland-Garros, clay, EUR 43.600.000)

  • Lorenzo Sonego (32) beat Peter Gojowczyk: 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
  • Cristian Garin beat Tommy Paul (30): 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
  • Henri Laaksonen beat Pedro Martinez Portero: 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 [1]
  • Richard Gasquet beat Lloyd George Harris: 6-1, 6-3, 6-4
  • Alexander Bublik beat Arthur Rinderknech: 6-2, 6-4, 6-4
  • Sebastian Korda (27) beat John Millman: 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 [6]
  • Ilya Ivashka beat Benoit Paire: 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5
  • Laslo Djere beat Ricardas Berankis: 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
  • Holger Rune beat Denis Shapovalov (14): 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 [4]
  • João Sousa beat Chun-Hsin Tseng (Q): 6-7 [5], 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
  • Emil Ruusuvuori beat Ugo Humbert: 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 [4], 6-4, 6-2
  • Daniil Medvedev (2) beat Facundo Bagnis: 6-2, 6-2, 6-2

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