Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic reveals ‘mixed emotions’ after first win in the US in two years

Novak Djokovic has won his first singles match in the United States since 2021, however the Serb has ‘mixed emotions’ about the way he was victorious.

Djokovic last played in the States in the 2021 US Open final, when he was prevented from becoming only the third man to achieve the Calendar Slam by Daniil Medvedev.

Since then, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has been unable to play tournaments in the States due to his Covid-19 vaccination status, however after a legislation change earlier this year he has returned at the Cincinnati Masters.

Djokovic had already competed in the doubles tournament alongside compatriot Nikola Cacic, and was beaten in straight sets by Jamie Murray and Michael Venus.

Although, he did manage to win his opening singles match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, but not in typical fashion.

After Djokovic won the first set, 6-4, the Spaniard elected to retire from the match with a lower back injury.

Djokovic reflected on the situation after the match, “It’s kind of mixed emotions tonight.  I really like Alejandro. We get along really well off the court. We train a lot with each other in Spain. He had a terrific week last week, played semi-finals, played a lot of matches, played yesterday.”

He continued, “He told me at the net it was a lower-back issue that appeared yesterday. So I think the amount of matches he’s played maybe in the last 10 days has taken the toll on his body. It’s unfortunate. I really hope he can recover and play well in New York. 

“As far as I’m concerned, obviously playing one set is better than not playing or losing I guess. So I get another chance tomorrow. (I’m) kind of shaking off the rust tonight. I feel I can always play better. Hopefully as the tournament progresses I’ll raise my game.”

Djokovic now moves onto the third round where he will play Gael Monfils, who has mustered up some impressive recent results after struggling with foot and wrist injuries over the past year.

The world No.2 looked ahead to his 19th meeting with the Frenchman, “It’s great to see him back after several years of struggling with injuries. He’s playing as good as ever.”

Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils head-to-head

Although Monfils is a former No.6, his head-to-head with Djokovic is one of the most one-sided on the ATP tour:

Djokovic vs Monfils: 18-0

Last meeting (2022) – Djokovic beat Monfils, 6-3 6-2 (Madrid Masters)

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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.