Novak Djokovic had started 2021 very well by winning the Australian Open for the ninth time, a tournament that has always seen him excel and that allowed him to score his 18th career Slam. Thanks to yet another triumph at Melbourne Park, the world number 1 has further narrowed the gap from eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The performance of the Serbian phenomenon dropped when the circuit moved to red clay, a surface that has nevertheless given Nole a lot of satisfaction in the past. The veteran from Belgrade did not in fact go beyond the second round in Monte Carlo, before yielding to Aslan Karatsev in the semi-final of the Serbia Open. Djokovic’s redemption was not long in coming, as he reached the final at the BNL Internationals of Italy bowing third to an amazing Nadal. Novak will still have the Belgrade 2 ATP available to refine his condition ahead of Roland Garros. In a virtual interview granted to ‘Tennishead’, former French Open finalist Alex Corretja said that – although the Serbian can only afford to prioritize the Grand Slams – he still needs to play games to get into the rhythm.
Corretja on Novak Djokovic’s forehand
To a question on whether Novak Djokovic should play more events to put himself in contention for more Grand Slam titles, Alex Corretja said, “He doesn’t need to play all of the time but definitely he needs rhythm to get into the Slams.” The Spaniard added that the World No.1 has a game where he wants to “put a lot of balls on the court to get the feelings that he wants. Most of the guys now they hit very hard with a serve, with a forehand and with a backhand, two-handed backhand. So, they face little bit like a mirror, but a better mirror (in Djokovic) than they are,” Corretja added. Explaining why Djokovic needs more match time under his belt before heading to a big-ticket event, the Spaniard said he is unlike “some other players” who can win titles easier and has to work his way into a tournament. “He doesn’t hit that many winners, Novak, because he has a very good forehand but he doesn’t have an unbelievable, killer forehand,” Corretja said. After that win, Roger Federer booked an appointment with Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. However, he lost the match in straight sets. The Swiss ace competed in the French capital in the following years but couldn’t go far into the tournament, having made it to the quarterfinal in 2013 and 2015. He was absent from the tournament for the next three years, from 2016-2018. In 2019, he was back again. While he put on some splendid performances, he eventually fell victim to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinal.