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After coming close to the 'Calendar Grand Slam' last year, Novak Djokovic had to deal with some difficult moments. 2022 did not start in the best way for the Serbian phenomenon, which paid a very high price for its choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus. The world number 1 was unable to defend his title at the Australian Open, as well as suffering serious damage to his image. As if that weren't enough, the 34-year-old from Belgrade had to watch helplessly as his eternal rival Rafael Nadal triumphs at Melbourne Park. Nole made his season debut in Dubai, but his race stopped already in the quarterfinals at the hands of a wild Jiri Vesely. The 20-time Grand Slam champion then took part in the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo and the ATP 250 in Belgrade, showing a physical condition far from 100%. The great goal of 'Djoker' is obviously Roland Garros, where he will be called to defend the title won in 2021. To the microphones of the Tennis Channel, former world number 1 in doubles Mark Knowles has analyzed in detail the latest performances of Novak.

Nole Djokovic will play the Mutua Madrid Open

"Well I think I'm a little surprised," Knowles said. "It's come out that Novak Djokovic mentioned that he's been battling illness, which kind of makes a little bit more sense, because obviously, we know that he's limited in matches, having been out for a long time, obviously he's dealt with a lot of off-court stress with figuring out when he can and can't play based on COVID protocols or so forth. I maybe wasn't as surprised in Monte-Carlo that he didn't have enough in the tank to withstand Davidovich Fokina. I just felt that maybe by Belgrade, couple more weeks, getting used to matches, even though he did have some tough matches as we know, throughout the week, I was just surprised to see him go away physically in that third set." It’s always exciting to get the news about a potential match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. However, before that, Nadal could face the fiery teenager, Alcaraz, in the quarterfinal. Previously, both of them faced each other at the Indian Wells semi-final. Nadal got the win by a narrow margin. Meanwhile, Djokovic never faced the young Spaniard, as he’s looking to get his form back before the French Open. Right now, in men’s tennis, world no.9 Carlos Alcaraz is the most in-form player who could hurt the top players with his aggressive playing style.

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