Novak Djokovic opens up on his expectations ahead of return in Monte Carlo

Novak Djokovic attends a press conference

Novak Djokovic has warned he will not be at his best as he prepares to make a return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The world No 1 has only played one event in 2022, with his refusal to take a Covid-19 vaccine ruling him out of the Australian Open, as well as the Indian Wells and Miami Open

Now the 20-time Grand Slam champion is preparing to play a full schedule ahead of the French Open, as he warned he is starting out in Monte Carlo with modest expectations.

“I understand that I probably won’t be at my best at the beginning of this week,” said Djokovic.

“I am still testing my engine, so to say, and building my game, so it will take obviously some time, some matches to really get in the groove and find the competitive play that I really need.

“I still feel motivated to be on the Tour and compete with young guys and try to challenge the best players in the world for the biggest titles,” Djokovic said.

“I’m very pleased to be here and Monaco has been home for over 10 years.”

Djokovic is returning to the game without Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev in his path, with his two big rivals out with injuries at the start of the clay court season.

Now the Serbian is looking to get back to winning ways, as he is relishing the chance to take to the court again.

“I have been eagerly waiting for the moment when I will be out competing again, so this is the best place where I could possibly start,” he added.

“Clay court is the surface on which I grew up in Serbia and played many years only on that surface actually.

“Historically it hasn’t been my most successful surface, but I have had some big success on clay. The Roland Garros win last year is still fresh in my memory, so I try to use that as an inspiration to kick-start the clay-court season in the best possible way.

“Being world No 1 is the highest achievement that you can have in our sport, so I’ll try to maintain that position as much as possible.”