It was not, to say the least the easiest of draws for Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic had been off the match court since the Australian Open. And even if he was able to start his clay-court training early because he didn’t travel to the U.S., playing rising Italian teenager Jannik Sinner in his first match at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters was a challenge.
And after a slowish start – he said afterwards that he didn’t feel he was striking the ball well early – Djokovic took over.
He defeated Sinner 6-4, 6-2 and now moves on to the third round to play the crafty Daniel Evans.
It will be the first meeting between the two despite the fact that both are on the other side of 30.
And Djokovic has a healthy respect for what the Brit brings to the court.
Here’s what he said after the victory over Sinner.
Included there is an answer to a good question – well-framed, with humour – about how Djokovic deals with his father Srdjan’s … sometimes way out-there public pronouncements.
And here’s what Sinner had to say about an invaluable clay-court lesson.