Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘You don’t lose class!’ – Novak Djokovic will be ‘ready’ in time for French Open, punditry duo predict

Greg Rusedski and Daniela Hantuchova have echoed the sentiment behind the famed saying ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ and have backed Novak Djokovic to regain enough match fitness to defend his French Open title.

After being deported from Australia just one day before the Australian Open got underway, 20-time Grand Slam champion had endured a challenging few months.

This comes after he was denied entry into the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Open for remaining unvaccinated against Covid-19.

Although, last week Djokovic featured in just his second tournament of the year at the Monte Carlo Masters. However, he suffered an early defeat to eventual finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Djokovic’s last competitive appearance prior to Monte Carlo came at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February. After beating Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti and Russian Karen Khachanov, Djokovic lost to Czechian qualifier Jiri Vesely in a similar fashion.

The Serbian attributed both losses to a lack of match fitness and sharpness having only played once competitively since early December.

Speaking on Amazon Prime, former World number four Rusedski said “it doesn’t matter how he wins. He just needs to win matches even if it’s ugly, six in the third [set]. If he wins the tournament in Belgrade, welcome back.

“You don’t lose class. You miss match sharpness but winning becomes a habit. He needs to get back on the train again.

“Whether that’s next week or the week after, but he’ll be ready to defend his (French Open) title.”

Meanwhile, former World number five Daniela Hantuchova said “in a way I feel like Alejandro [Davidovich Fokina] helped him to not lose so much confidence and hope because he sees that ‘okay it’s one of the best clay court players at the moment.’

“So he doesn’t feel like ‘I lost to someone who I was supposed to really win, I lost to someone who is playing incredible tennis’.

“So I think that it’s going to help Novak looking ahead to Belgrade (Serbian Open).”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.