Djokovic ‘Feeling great’ In Monte Carlo As Alcaraz Withdraws Injured

World number one Novak Djokovic claimed his “feeling was great” after defeating Roman Safiullin in straight sets at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday, following the withdrawal of third seed Carlos Alcaraz due to injury.

After earning a bye in the first round, Djokovic dominated on the main Rainier III court, winning 6-1, 6-2 over the unseeded Russian.

“My feeling was great,” said Djokovic. “I think… it’s been one of my best performances I had here in quite a few years.

“Monte Carlo is the first big tournament of the clay court season. You know, I haven’t been really able the last six, seven years to start off strong and start off well. I’ve always kind of struggled in this tournament.”

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Russia’s Roman Safiullin during their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 32 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 9, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)


The Serb required only one hour and ten minutes to win his first match since losing early to Italian Luca Nardi at Indian Wells.

When he took the court in Monte Carlo, the 36-year-old broke Roger Federer’s record for the oldest world number one in ATP rankings history.

“It is nice, it is great,” said the 24-time Grand Slam winner.

“I met (Rohan) Bopanna yesterday, who is the oldest doubles no.1 in history. He said we had a combined age of 80, but he does contribute to the 80 more than I do. But it is fun.”

However, Djokovic showed no signs of age as he broke Safiullin’s serve twice to take a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Djokovic went on to break his opponent’s serve five times in a simple win and is now set to face Lorenzo Musetti in the third round, after the Italian defeated young French prodigy Arthur Fils 6-3, 7-5.

Prior to Djokovic’s match, Alcaraz revealed that he was withdrawing from Monte Carlo due to a right forearm injury.

“I have been working in Monte Carlo and trying to recover until the last minute from an injured pronator teres (muscle) in my right arm, but it was not possible and I cannot play,” Alcaraz said in a social media post.

The 20-year-old Spaniard, who lost in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov in Miami last month, was scheduled to face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round on Wednesday.

He will be replaced in the draw by Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who was selected as a lucky loser.

The match against Auger-Aliassime was scheduled to be the two-time Grand Slam winner’s second appearance in Monte Carlo, following his retirement from the tournament last year and a three-set loss in his single match of the 2022 edition.

Earlier in the day, American Sebastian Korda, who was culpable for the 2022 loss, defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.


De Minaur dismisses Wawrinka

After a rain-soaked morning forced a two-and-a-half-hour delay in the day’s play, world number 11 Alex de Minaur made up for lost time with a 62-minute straight sets victory over Stan Wawrinka.

The 39-year-old wild card Wawrinka, who was formerly ranked third in the world but is now rated 79th, was no match for the Australian in the opening round, winning 6-3, 6-0.

Wawrinka, the 2014 Monte Carlo champion and three-time Grand Slam winner, made 28 unforced errors to De Minaur’s 18 and hit only four winners to his opponent’s 12.

Hubert Hurkacz, the 10th seed, defeated Britain’s Jack Draper 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2).

After winning his first title in two injury-plagued years in Marrakesh on Sunday, Italian Matteo Berrettini was defeated 6-3, 6-1 by Miomir Kecmanovic in Monte Carlo.

German fifth seed Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Sebastian Ofner.

Gael Monfils of France rallied from a double break down in the third set to defeat Australian Aleksandar Vukic by 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 7-5.

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