Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2024

Novak Djokovic: I am not scared of anything and anybody

Novak Djokovic has given a defiant response when asked about whether he fears players from a certain nation, as he reveals the situation with his new coach Nenad Zimonjic.

Djokovic won his opening round match at the Monte Carlo Masters, 6-1 6-2, against world No.41 Roman Safiullin.

It was the Serbian’s first match since splitting from long-term coach Goran Ivanisevic, and Djokovic is now working with former doubles partner and compatriot Zimonjic.

The 36-year-old spoke about how this new partnership is going after his first win of the clay court season, “I think the two, three weeks of training I had is paying off. Really good training block with Zimonjic and the team.

“We put a lot of hours into thinking about the game, the movement, and things that haven’t worked for me in the first couple tournaments of this year that I played. It’s a great start but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and put the hopes too high.”

Djokovic lost his first match at the Australian Open since 2018 earlier this year to eventual champion Jannik Sinner, with one of the world No.1’s other defeats this season coming to another Italian in Luca Nardi at Indian Wells.

Last year at the Monte Carlo Masters, Djokovic lost in the third round to Lorenzo Musetti and will take on the same opponent this year.

In his press conference, Djokovic was asked if he has any fears competing against players from Italy, to which he answered, “I’m not scared of anything and anybody.”

The 24-time Grand Slam champion continued, “He [Musett] is one of the most talented players on clay with a beautiful one-handed backhand. He’s very athletic. He can do a lot of great things. He’s one of the most promising young players not only from Italy but generally for the world.

“I like the way I played my first match compared to the first match last year. I feel much more ready. I’m hoping I can deliver my best game.”

Djokovic will look for revenge over Musetti when playing him in Monte Carlo tomorrow, in a bid to reach quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time since 2019.

Inside the baseline…

It was a silly question to ask really, as Novak Djokovic has faced so many obstacles in his career that a few defeats to players from the same nationality is not going to phase him in the slightest. If anything, the fact that Lorenzo Musetti beat Djokovic at the exact same stage in Monte Carlo last year is likely to fuel more fire in the belly of the world No.1 – especially after such an impressive performance against Roman Safiullin.

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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.