Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘Turning point’ for Novak Djokovic was the Serbia Open, says top analyst

Former world number two Alex Corretja has argued that Novak Djokovic has turned his season around and that the Serbia Open was the key “turning point” in the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s return to form. 

Following his deportation from Australia and being banned from the Sunshine Double events due to his vaccination status, meaning Djokovic only competed at one tournament on hard-court in the first part of the season.

Out of match practice, Djokovic also made a stuttering start to his clay-court campaign as he suffered a shock loss to Alejandro Davidovic Fokina in his opener at the Monte Carlo Masters.

A similar pattern also emerged the week later at the Serbia Open, although the difference was he was able to battle through and play himself into form.

Djokovic continued to look out of sorts and struggled with fitness during his first couple matches against compatriots Laslo Djere and Miomr Kecmanovic, but he dug deep and beat the former 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4) while Kecmanovic was defeated 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The two-French Open champion also claimed a third comeback win in a row as he defeated Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the semi-final before going down in three sets against Andrey Rublev in the final.

Since then, Djokovic has appeared more like his imperious self as he reached the Madrid Masters semi-final, before claiming a record-extending 38th Masters title in Rome last week.

Next up is the prestigious French Open where he will be entering the tournament as one of the leading contenders to lift the La Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Former Roland Garros runner-up Alex Corretja has argued that Djokovic’s run in Belgrade was a key moment in turning his season around.

In a recent interview, the former ATP star told reporters, “It wasn’t Rome, we have to go back to Belgrade. I think he rose in Belgrade.

“That was the turning point in his season, when he came back against Kecmanovic and Djere. That is the moment when Novak showed me that he is ready for the French Open.”

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