Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2022

Novak Djokovic sets low expectations in Belgrade as he eyes French Open defence

World number one Novak Djokovic is setting his Serbia Open goals at a low level as he hopes to do better in Belgrade than he did in Monte Carlo. 

Last week the Serbian competed in only his second tournament of 2022 as he crashed out of the Monte Carlo Masters, suffering a shock defeat to eventual finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.

Prior to the tournament, he had only competed in the Dubai Tennis Championships in February and was forced to miss both the Australian Open and the ‘Sunshine Double’ of Indian Wells and the Miami Open in the United States last month due to his vaccination status.

Now, with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across Europe, the path looks clear for Djokovic to compete in the clay court swing as he looks to find fitness and form ahead of his French Open title defence at the end of May.

He is now set to compete at his home tournament in Belgrade, which will be the fifth time in his ATP career that he will compete in the Serbian capital, looking to seek a third title there.

Speaking at a tournament press conference ahead of the tournament, Djokovic outlined his ambitions for the event, setting an extremely low target for his normally imperious world number one standards

He said: “I was not fully ready for the tournament in Monte Carlo and I knew that before the tournament started.

“However, I need match practice and this is the surface (clay) that requires a lot of time spent on the court during training sessions, and even more during matches.

“I hope to play more matches in Belgrade than in Monte Carlo.”

Djokovic further discussed the importance of the Serbian Open on his preparations for Roland Garros last year and hopes that history can repeat itself in 2022.

He continued: “I had never before played a tournament in the week ahead of Roland Garros but last year I decided to do just that.

“Because it was Belgrade and I needed the feeling that the audience is the wind beneath my wings.

“It came true, I won the tournament, and it turned out I made a good decision ahead of the French Open.”

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