Djokovic Makes Winning Return in Monte Carlo
Life back under the stewardship of Marian Vajda could be pretty good for Novak Djokovic, judging by his demolition of Dusan Lajovic in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Things may be going well away from the court for Djokovic, with a second child being born in September of last year, but his form has dipped alarmingly over the past couple of seasons.
Injuries have complicated matters, while Boris Becker and Andre Agassi came and went as coaches while the Serb’s slump continued.
In a bid to arrest the slide, Djokovic has sought out the help of Vajda – his coach from 2006 to 2017, and the man who oversaw one of the most dominant spells the game has witnessed.
Djokovic is now down to number 13 in the world and looking to get his career back on track. The first signs are positive, as he crushed Lajovic in 57 minutes.
“It’s a fresh start I think for both of us. I missed him,” Djokovic said of Vajda, per the ATP’s official website. “I have a feeling that he missed me or tennis or both.”
Hitting crisply and with confidence from the outset, Djokovic took the opening set to love in 22 minutes.
The second set was far more competitive, as Lajovic forced Djokovic onto the defensive at times and worked a couple of break points. On each occasion, the former world number one swatted them away as he wrapped up a 6-0 6-1 success inside the hour mark.
Tougher tests will lie ahead for Djokovic, notably a potential meeting with world number one Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, but he looked in excellent fettle and the win will do his confidence the power of good.
Djokovic is based in Monte Carlo and has won the event on two occasions. Playing close to home and with his family around him will certainly be of benefit as he feels his way back into tournament play after a tough start to 2018.
A fourth-round exit at the Australian Open was followed by defeats in the first round at both Indian Wells and Miami. Snapping a three-game losing streak will be good for morale, but Borna Coric who is on the rise at the age of 21 will test him in the second round.
Coric beat veteran Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-2 6-3 in his first round, and he will bring confidence to the court after advancing to the semi-finals at Indian Wells.
For all that Djokovic impressed, Nadal is the undoubted star turn in Monte Carlo, as he goes in search of his 11th win in the event.
The Spanish number one seed was granted a bye in the first round and will open up his quest against Aljaz Bedene who beat Mirza Basic on Monday.