“I think Novak Djokovic is going to have some fire in his belly and he’s going to try and match Nadal at 21 Grand Slams sooner than later” – Pam Shriver…

 

Pam Shriver believes Novak Djokovic will have “fire in his belly” on his return to action at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters. The former doubles World No. 1 feels the Serb will be motivated to match rival Rafael Nadal’s 21 Grand Slam titles “sooner than later.”The 34-year-old will compete in just his second event of the season at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which got underway today. He was defeated by Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February in his only other appearance in 2022 to date.

Prior to that, Djokovic had not featured this season since helping Serbia reach the semifinals of the 2021 Davis Cup Finals in December.

 

The World No. 1 missed the Australian Open in January after a two-week saga over his visa and COVID-19 vaccination status. He also skipped Indian Wells and Miami last month as he was unable to enter the United States due to being unvaccinated.

Djokovicwill face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Monte-Carlo. The unseeded Spaniard downed Marcos Giron 7-5, 6-3 today.

Speaking on Tennis Channel’s Inside-In podcast, Shriver revealed she was unsure of what to expect from the Serb on his return given his lack of recent action. The American did, though, identify the 20-time Major champion as a player capable of winning straight after a period of inactivity.

 

“I expect him to be anywhere from really rusty, and if he has the wrong draw to lose early, to win the tournament,” Shriver said. “So, in other words, I don’t quite know what to expect. There’s nobody that I know – I guess maybe Ash Barty would be the closest one, Serena in her prime, Roger occasionally – and I guess Novak can fit that profile right? Players who can take such a long period of time off and then get right back at it and win.

“So it’s possible,” Shriver continued. “It might take him a couple of tournaments. But I think he’s going to have some fire in his belly and he’s going to try and match Nadal at 21 [Grand Slams] sooner than later.”

Novak Djokovic is a two-time Monte-Carlo Masters champion
Novak Djokovic is a two-time Monte-Carlo Masters champion

 

Novak Djokovic (R) defeated Tomas Berdych to win the 2015 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Novak Djokovic has won the Monte-Carlo Masters twice previously – in 2013 and 2015. The great Serb ended Rafael Nadal’s 46-match winning streak at the event in the 2013 final to claim his first Monte-Carlo crown.

The World No. 1 also beat Tomas Berdych in the title match of the 2015 edition. The 34-year-old has a 35-12 (74%) record in Monte-Carlo, making it his least successful Masters 1000 event in terms of win percentage.

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