Novka Djokovic is not in prime form as he continues to work his way back from the elbow injury that saw him skip six months on tour. Since the Australian Open, Djokovic has worked his way forward and improved as things have gone on. His best since the start of the year has been the semifinal appearance in Rome on clay. Through to the third round of the French Open, the Serbian believes his struggles on the court are insignificant when compared to real life problems such as poverty.
“To sit here and talk about how tough it is and you have people starving to death, for me there is no point talking about that [his issues],” he said. “It’s just the way it is. As an athlete I have to face these challenges,” he added following his second round 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar.
Former World No 1 Djokovic was tested by 21-year-old Munar despite winning in straight sets and added: “I’m not playing at the level I wish to but I’m trying not to give up.” Seeded 20th at the clay court tournament, Djokovic led 5-2 in the first set before being pushed and prevailing in the tiebreak. Munar didn’t give the Serb much respite in the subsequent sets either but the Sebs experience told in a straight sets win.
This year, Djokovic has twice lost to players outside the top-100 as his wait to win a grand slam gets longer – the last time he won a major was at the 2016 French Open.
Djokovic’s scrappy performance saw blips in the first set before regaining composure in the tiebreak and steady showing in the final set. “I went through my ups and downs and I’m not really satisfied with the performance,” Djokovic added. “I just played enough in the right moments to win the match.”
Djokovic will next face 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round after the Spaniard’s 6-4 7-5 6-3 win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.