The World No.1 is fresh and eager to hit the ground running in Monte-Carlo. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday April 10, 2023

Ahead of his first appearance on the clay in 2023, Novak Djokovic points out the positives of having missed Indian Wells and Miami this year. Sure, the World No.1 would have preferred to play, but given that he didn’t he was able to make the most of time, put in some extra work on the clay, and do another mini pre-season.

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It all bodes well for the 22-time Grand Slam champion as he makes a play for a third Roland-Garros title in June.

"It's a fine balance,” he said, according to Simon Cambers of “I guess that's another maybe positive note about not competing on a weekly basis that you can give your body time to recuperate, regain the energy and strength, and then have weeks of good training and kind of a mini mini pre-season preparation type of period where you can build that over all of the aspects or elements that you need in order to compete at the highest level consistently, particularly on the surface that is physically the most demanding surface."

Djokovic, seeded no.1 at Monte-Carlo, will face Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhova in second-round action on Tuesday.

A Scouting Report on “Amazing” Alcaraz

During his pre-tournament press conference, Djokovic was asked to talk about Carlos Alcaraz, and gave a glowing review of what he has witnessed from the 19-year-old World No.2.

“The way he has been playing recently, but also in the last year and a half, he has been one of the best players in the world on any surface,” Djokovic said. “And he has proven that he can win a Grand Slam – he won it on hardcourt where probably most of the people thought that he’s going to win the first slam on clay. So that tells you how complete of a player he is.”

Djokovic continued to praise the Spaniard’s mentality and acumen, and then mentioned Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune as two talented players who might create a “new big three”.

“I think he has a great mentality, fighting spirit, always pushes hard, takes away the time from the opponent and I think he adjusts well to every opponent to be able to adapt his game tactically,” he said of Alcaraz. “Very, very complete player and just amazing. For our sport to have a champion like him, no doubt. And he’s so young.”

Djokovic also talked the blossoming rivalry with Alcaraz with respect, and gave a nod to 19-year-old Holger Rune as well.

“And it’s also refreshing to have another great rivalry that people get excited about, which [Alcaraz] him and Sinner,” he said. “We have seen some thrilling, exciting matches between the two of them, so I’m sure that those two guys, along with [Holger] Rune from the younger generations, are going to be the leaders. So maybe that’s the next big three.”