Novak Djokovic thrashes Dusan Lajovic in Monte Carlo opener

Funny! Nadal Jokingly Throws Shade At Federer With A Snide

The 12-time major victor had a "small surgical intervention" to help his elbow at the start of February but suffered early exits at Indian Wells and the Miami Open last month.

After being forced to retire from his last-eight clash with Marin Cilic in Melbourne, he briefly lost his top spot to Roger Federer.

Nadal had expected to make his comeback in Acapulco, but the injury flared up again during a last practice session with French player Adrian Mannarino. The 12-time Grand Slam champion broke serve five times in all, and saved all four break points against him. "You're in Acapulco, you fly all the way".

Last year, Federer won back-to-back tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami Open before taking a break from a clay court campaign.

So was the painstakingly tiresome recovery which followed.

"That's why I am here, to play tennis and to accept all the rules". "It was a boring time because I don't like to be doing nothing".

The first of three Masters 1000 clay tournaments begins on Sunday as stars of the ATP tour take to the courts of the Monte Carlo Country Club, looking to stop Rafael Nadal from clinching a record-extending 11th trophy there.

"Every year I come here with the same passion, with the same motivation to play my best and to give me chances to have the best result possible", he added.

I thought I'd get an anodyne answer, instead the Swiss calmly talked about how the umpire needed to be aware of it and put a stop to it, knowing the headlines would ramp up a bit of pressure before they walked on court next day. Djokovic won 6-2, 6-4 in the second round and went on to win the tournament.

He feels at home at the picture-postcard tournament with its center court perched over the glittering Mediterranean sea. The 21-year-old American received a code violation.

That was a stroke of good fortune, even if the rest of Djokovic's draw poses a significantly heightened challenge. "It's been a love story".

It's been a rough old time for Djokovic since he returned to the game following an elbow injury, but it's clear he still has some Monte Carlo magic up his sleeve.

Fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov didn't fare as well, falling in straight sets to Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4.

The Serb said he is now playing pain-free, after struggling with a right elbow injury.

Djokovic has seen himself drop to No 13 in the world rankings while also splitting with coach Andre Agassi in a turbulent few months.

But Djokovic was able to step up his game when needed, saving it and breaking in the fourth game to tighten his grip on the match.

This will be the pair's second-ever meeting with their first meeting actually coming in Monte Carlo back in 2016.

When it was over, Djokovic enjoyed a light and fleeting hit with his young son, Stefan, and with that the exo came to a close and the real work for the elite players resumed.

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