Novak Djokovic is the No. 1 participant within the FedEx ATP Rankings and he has gained 15 tour-level titles on clay. However even he admitted on Sunday forward of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters that shifting to clay isn’t seamless.
“I believe clay requires plenty of changes. The ball bounces irregularly. It is fairly unpredictable at instances,” Djokovic mentioned. “If the courts will not be in an ideal state — which is regular you probably have rain, wind, totally different situations that may have an effect on the situation of the court docket — then clearly mentally you simply have to remain on the market. I’ll use this time period ‘grind’ [for what you have to do] mentally and bodily greater than some other floor.”
Djokovic, a two-time Monte-Carlo champion, mentioned at his pre-tournament press convention how the floor modifications the ways and elegance of play. On faster surfaces, gamers rush to the primary punch in a rally to attempt to seize management of some extent. However on clay, the tempo of the motion is totally different.
“It may be very irritating at instances, as a result of typically you simply really feel like perhaps you possibly can’t make a winner, you possibly can’t make a simple level together with your serve such as you normally do on the opposite surfaces,” Djokovic mentioned. “It requires a tactical and undoubtedly technical adjustment. The positioning on the court docket has to fluctuate on a regular basis. Lots of guys, together with myself, who normally assaults the return on different sooner surfaces, on clay I might most likely be extra non-obligatory there, perhaps combine it up, return from deep within the court docket, ship a looping topspin, then attempt to get into the rally.
“It is a very strategic floor that requires plenty of strategic considering and tactical adjustment.”
Picture Credit score: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Earlier within the day, second seed Daniil Medvedev spoke about getting soiled on clay when sliding across the court docket. However that’s not at all times a foul factor, in response to Djokovic.
“You do get soiled,” Djokovic mentioned, cracking fun. “It’s a necessity, I suppose, with the intention to have success on this floor.”
This would be the World No. 1’s first event since he gained his ninth Australian Open title in February. The Serbian, who additionally earned two victories for his nation in the course of the ATP Cup, is 9-0 on the season, and he isn’t involved about going two months with no match.
“I’ve had some intervals in my profession the place I did not play a event for perhaps a pair months, then got here again,” Djokovic mentioned. “I do not assume there may be something particular I’ve to do when it comes to preparation to ensure that me to really feel my greatest on the court docket. I have been coaching quite a bit on clay.
“Right here in Monte-Carlo really the place I reside with the household, it was handy and feels nice. I really feel bodily ready.”
Sometimes followers flood the walkways on the Monte-Carlo Nation Membership. However with no followers in attendance this yr as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, it has created a special ambiance. Djokovic mentioned that he misses having the fan’s assist and defined how their absence impacts the participant’s expertise.
“You play the event on the membership the place you normally come to coach. You continue to spend time outside strolling across the membership, which you do not have usually the chance to do as a result of there’s so many individuals, it is simply unattainable to stroll round,” Djokovic mentioned. “Now you possibly can really go and take a look at some coaching classes from different gamers or matches, simply be outside on the recent air, which is one thing that we’re grateful for.”
Djokovic is worked up to get going, and he should be sharp from the primary ball towards latest Miami finalist Jannik Sinner or 2017 Monte-Carlo runner-up Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
“Mentally I missed tennis [the] previous couple months that I have not been competing,” Djokovic mentioned. “I stay up for my first match.”