Superstar Novak Djokovic (World Ranking No. 1, Serbia) showed solid play as never before on the clay court.
Djokovic defeated Ivan Gakov (198th place, Russia) 2-0 (7-6 <7-5> 6 -2) to complete. The Monte Carlo Masters is the first clay court event of the year. Ahead of the opening of the French Open on May 28, the ATP tour has entered the clay court season, where clay court competitions are mainly held from this month.
Djokovic, who passed the first round with a bye, faces the winner of the match between Lorenzo Musetti (21st) and Luca Nardi (159th, Italy) in the round of 16.
This match was an official match that Djokovic played in about a month and a half. He took a break for a while after the semifinals of the Dubai tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) early last month. This is because he was unable to participate in the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open held in the United States last month due to unvaccinated against the novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19).
Both Carlos Alcaras (2nd place) and Rafael Nadal (15th place, Spain) did not participate in the Monte Carlo competition due to injuries. In particular, the absence of Nadal, who is called the ‘Emperor of Clay Court’, is a regrettable part for fans. Prior to this tournament, he announced his absence on social media (SNS), saying, “I am not ready to compete at the highest level. Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the Monte Carlo competition, one of the important competitions in my career.” Nadal is the all-time winner of the Monte Carlo Tournament. He won as many as 11 times until the 2018 tournament, when he last lifted the championship trophy. 토토사이트
Nadal has been sluggish this year compared to the previous year. He participated in the 2023 Australian Open, the first major tournament of the season, as the defending champion as the top seed, but was eliminated early in the second round. It was the first time in seven years that Nadal failed to reach the third round (Round of 32) in a major tournament after being eliminated in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open. To make matters worse, he suffered a hip injury during the tournament. Nadal was initially expected to recover in the middle of last month, but his return was delayed more and more. As he entered his mid-30s, an analysis came out that his recovery speed was lower than in his prime.
Fans are hoping Nadal will recover from his injury before the opening of the French Open. This is because Nadal had the best performance ever. In the French Open alone, he won a total of 14 times, the most in a single major tournament. Nadal is also in a fierce battle with his rival Djokovic for the title of most men’s singles winner at a major. Both players have a record of 22 championships in their career.