Novak Djokovic ‘still finding his groove’, but feels display against Gael Monfils was his ‘best match’ of 2022

Novak Djokovic thanks the crowd

Things are starting to click for Novak Djokovic as he delivered “probably the best match of the year” to see off “a very tricky” Gael Monfils in his opener at the Madrid Open.

Having made a sluggish start to the clay-court season at the Monte Carlo Masters following his long absence from the Tour due to his unvaccinated status, Djokovic went up a level at the Serbia Open a fortnight ago as he finished runner-up.

And he took it up another notch against Monfils in the second round in the Spanish capital with a fine display against mercurial Frenchman, easing to a 6-3, 6-2 win courtesy of three breaks while he saved all five break point opportunities against him.

“Probably the best match of the year so far for me,” he told Tennis TV.

“I haven’t played many matches and am still finding my groove, but a very good win against a very tricky opponent who is so fast, you have to expect you are going to play an extra shot against Gael, one of the quickest, most athletic players we have in the game.”

He added: “These days I have been practising in different conditions, sunny and the ball was bouncing more, and on the practice court it was faster and quicker.

“Then it’s a rainy day, roof closed, a lot of clay on the court, you have to adapt to that and I felt like I did well in important moments.

“The interruption probably helped me a little bit to get my things together and I broke straight away when we continued so all in all a good performance.”

Up next is former world No 1 Andy Murray with the pair set to meet for a 37th time after the Scot defeated Denis Shapovalov in three sets.