Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2024

Novak Djokovic thrashes Roman Safiullin in Monte-Carlo Masters despite ongoing coach saga | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic made a statement in his first match since splitting with his long-time coach as he obliterated Roman Safiullin at the Monte-Carlo Masters. The world No. 1 was competing for the first time in four weeks but it was like he never left as he cruised through 6-1 6-2 in 70 minutes.

There were plenty of question marks surrounding Djokovic ahead of the Monte-Carlo Masters. The Serb hadn’t competed since he was stunned by lucky loser Luca Nardi in the third round of Indian Wells exactly four weeks ago. The tournament also marked Djokovic’s first since his sudden split with Goran Ivanisevic.

The 24-time Major winner announced their decision to part ways two weeks ago and has not hired a replacement coach, though he was spotted training with Nenad Zimonjic who joined him in Monaco and was in his box for his opening match. But Djokovic showed that he didn’t need an official coach to get back to winning ways in Monte Carlo.

Djokovic stormed into a 4-0 lead against Safiullin before the world No. 41 finally managed to snap his streak, saving three break points to get on the board. But the top seed proved relentless and quickly closed out the first set in just over half an hour, dropping only three points on serve.

Safiullin handled the pressure better in the second set as he saved two break points in the second game but Djokovic was still too much for the Russian and pounced to take a 3-1 lead. Safiullin dug himself out of a 0-40 hold in the sixth game of the set but the world No. 1 managed to get one more break in the final game of the match, wasting no time as he booked his spot in the third round.

Djokovic will now face either Lorenzo Musetti or Arthur Fils. Musetti defeated him at the same stage of the tournament 12 months ago and the two-time Monte Carlo champion will be eager to get revenge. Despite his fast start against Safiullin, Djokovic knows that he has work to do if he wants to improve on last year’s result.

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