'The feeling is terrible' – Djokovic dismayed by early Monte Carlo exit

By Sports Desk April 14, 2023

Novak Djokovic was "not really in the mood to speak" after suffering a jarring early defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters, but insisted he would bounce back.

The 35-year-old world number one was playing his 50th main-draw match at the tournament, but it did not go to plan as he lost 4-6 7-5 6-4 to Italian Lorenzo Musetti on Thursday.

Djokovic's post-match reaction exposed huge frustration, with his first competitive outing in over a month ending at the last-16 stage.

He was forced to miss the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments last month, being denied permission to enter the United States due to his refusal to accept a COVID-19 vaccination.

Hopes he had of a long run on the Monte Carlo clay have been scuppered, but the Serbian has plenty of time to find form in time for the French Open, which begins on May 28.

Defeat marked the first time Djokovic had failed to reach the quarter-finals in a tournament since last year's Monte Carlo event, when he lost his opening match to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The loss to Musetti included an argument with the umpire over a line call, while Djokovic also smashed a racket in frustration at one point.

"The feeling is terrible after playing like this, honestly," Djokovic said. "But congrats to him. He stayed tough in important moments, and that's it.

"You always hope for the good day in the office, but I know I'm not playing so great and he's playing very well, so I knew it was going to be a tough match.

"I don't think it's catastrophic, but my feeling is bad right now because I lost the match. It's not a great day for me, so I'm not really in the mood to speak."

Djokovic is a two-time former winner of the ATP 1000 event but has not reached the semi-final stage since 2015, the year he was last champion.

He continues his clay campaign at a low level tournament next week in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Musetti moved on to face fellow Italian Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals. Victory over Djokovic made Musetti the first Italian man to beat the world number one in Monte Carlo since 1973, when the ATP rankings began.

Related items

  • Djokovic will only play Wimbledon if title in reach after surgery Djokovic will only play Wimbledon if title in reach after surgery

    Novak Djokovic will only play at Wimbledon if he feels he has a chance of winning the tournament, with a decision on his involvement to be made before Friday's draw.

    Djokovic tore the medial meniscus in his right knee at the French Open earlier this month, withdrawing ahead of a scheduled quarter-final against Casper Ruud.

    He underwent surgery on the injury less than three weeks ago but still travelled to SW19 on Monday and was seen out on the practice courts.

    However, the Serbian will only participate if he feels he has a realistic chance of an eighth Wimbledon crown, which would equal Roger Federer's all-time record. 

    "I didn't come here to play a few rounds," Djokovic told BBC Sport. "You can never know 100% what is going to happen at a tournament, but I'm going to make a decision based on the feeling that I have.

    "If I know I can play close to my maximum or at maximum, then I'll play. If not, then I'll give somebody else a chance to play."

    Asked if his maximum meant a title push, Djokovic replied: "That's why I'm here. 

    "I don't plan to retire or for this to be my last Wimbledon. The injury happened at an unfortunate moment but it's part of the sport."

    Having gone through a two-hour session with bandaging on his affected knee on Monday, Djokovic added his recovery is going well and said he will give himself as much time as possible to make a decision.

    "It's been going well. Rehab is going in the right direction every single day, a few per cent better and better. That's what's giving me hope and encouragement," he said.

    "I still have a week left, which is plenty of time. I'm going to give my best to have a clear understanding of where I am before the draw is made, and we'll take it from there.

    "I'm taking things gradually. I'm not pushing myself 100% yet but I'm hoping that's going to come in the next few days."

  • Raducanu 'grateful' and 'excited' having 'rekindled the love for tennis' Raducanu 'grateful' and 'excited' having 'rekindled the love for tennis'

    Emma Raducanu is thrilled to have "rekindled" her love for tennis, with the former US Open champion admitting she is "in a lot better spirits on and off the court".

    The world number 168, who had not played since the Madrid Open in April, marked her return from injury with a run to the Nottingham Open semi-finals just over a week ago. 

    Last year, Raducanu underwent wrist and ankle surgery that, at one point, confined her to a mobility scooter, but she has prioritised fitness over competition during the 2024 season.

    Having missed the French Open to focus on preparing for the grass-court season, she has also opted not to participate for Great Britain in the forthcoming Olympics.

    The 21-year-old is now stepping up her preparations for Wimbledon, which continue when she faces Sloane Stephens in Eastbourne on Tuesday.

    And Raducanu will enter the contest against her fellow former Flushing Meadows champion with a real spring in her step.

    "I really feel like I'm in a lot better spirits on and off the court," she told BBC TV. "It's a nice feeling for me because it hasn't always been the case.

    "I'm very happy to have rekindled the love for tennis and just enjoying the challenges that come with it and not getting so down about it, just trying a way to go around.

    "I'm just really grateful to have this feeling again because it's something that I feel like I've been missing in a way for the last few years.

    "I haven't felt this good about my tennis and excited about it and passionate for a long, long time."

  • Paul races to Queen's Championship title with straight-sets win Paul races to Queen's Championship title with straight-sets win

    Tommy Paul claimed his first title on grass with a straight-sets victory over Lorenzo Musetti at the Queen's Championship on Sunday.

    It took the American just 88 minutes to get his 6-1 7-6 (10-8) win after a front-footed, aggressive approach.

    Paul cruised through the opening set but looked like he might be forced into a decider after failing to serve out the match at 5-4.

    The Italian edged them into a tie-break, but Paul rallied from 1-4 down to get his hands on the title.

    His 27th tour-level win of the season also ensured he will surpass Taylor Fritz to become the American number one for the first time in his career on Monday.

    Data Debrief: Paul hits cruise control

    It was a dominant performance from Paul throughout Queen's as he only dropped a single set on his way to capturing his third ATP Tour title.

    On Sunday, he made just six unforced errors as he came out on top in his first-ever meeting with Musetti.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.