Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic hails ‘great rivalry’ that is ‘good for our sport’

Novak Djokovic has labelled the budding rivalry between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, that has produced some of the most eye-catching tennis over the past year, as good for tennis.

Djokovic made his return to the ATP tour earlier this week in Monte Carlo, after missing out on the sunshine double due to his vaccination status.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion explained to Eurosport what he was doing in that time away from the matchcourt, “I got to spend some time with the family and did other things off the court. But I was thinking about tennis, mostly about myself and how I can prepare myself the best possible in order to kick off the clay season in a good manner.”

Djokovic continued, “I did follow some of the matches from Indian Wells and Miami, highlights more than the entire match – not much patience for that – but I saw some spectacular points, especially from Alcaraz, Sinner, [Daniil] Medvedev.”

“I think it’s a great rivalry that’s coming up between Alcaraz and Sinner – it’s good for our sport.”

Novak Djokovic vs Carlos Alcaraz vs Jannik Sinner

Djokovic has played both Alcaraz and Sinner before, but is yet to pick up a win over the Spaniard.

Here is the head-to-head between the three top 10 players:

Novak Djokovic vs Carlos Alcaraz: 0-1

Last meeting (2022) – Alcaraz beat Djokovic, 6(5)-7 7-5 7-6(5) (Madrid Open Semi-final)

Novak Djokovic vs Jannik Sinner: 2-0

Last meeting (2022) – Djokovic beat Sinner, 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 (Wimbledon Quarter-final)

Carlos Alcaraz vs Jannik Sinner: 3-3

Last meeting (2023) – Sinner beat Alcaraz, 6(4)-7 6-4 6-2 (Miami Open Semi-final)

Despite being away from the tour for a month, Djokovic does not appear to be too worried about losing track on the rest and suggested that the change of surface could be a leveller.

“I’m in a pretty similar position to most of the other players, it’s the first event on clay,” he said. “I did play Adelaide, the Australian Open and Dubai and did pretty solid in the first couple of months of the year.”

“Of course, I wish I could’ve played a few more matches in America, it didn’t happen, but that’s OK. I feel good, I’ve trained the last two or three weeks on clay.”

He added, “It’s the most dynamic surface in the sport, we know that it takes a bit of time to get the feeling of how to move around properly and construct the point.”

The Serb will continue his comeback in Monte Carlo later today when he takes on Lorenzo Musetti, who he has never lost to before, in the third round.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.