Novak Djokovic has learned his fate at his next tournament after being upset at the Monte Carlo Masters. The world No 1 is playing next week’s ATP 250 in Banja Luka and could face old rival Stan Wawrinka in his opening match, with Djokovic receiving a bye into the second round.
Djokovic crashed out of Monte Carlo in the third round on Thursday as Lorenzo Musetti stormed back from a set and a break down to upset the top seed 4-6 7-5 6-4. It was a dramatic match which saw both men receive code violations while there was an hour-long rain delay at the start of the final set.
The 35-year-old was understandably frustrated following the defeat as he gave a brief press conference claiming he wasn’t “in the mood” to speak, though he did confirm his participation in Banja Luka – where his brother is the tournament director. Djokovic will be hoping to bounce back at next week’s ATP 250 event and get some more matches under his belt in time for the French Open.
But he could have a tough first match in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as he faces the winner of a clash between Wawrinka and Luca Van Assche. Wawrinka has previously been something of a roadblock for Djokovic on the biggest stages, beating the Serb in the 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open finals.
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As the top seed, Djokovic received a bye directly into the second round while the former world No 3 and the Frenchman will do battle with the 22-time Grand Slam champion awaiting as the next opponent. It could be a 27th meeting between the world No 1 and the three-time Major champion, with Djokovic leading their head-to-head 20-6.
But Wawrinka has proven to be his bogey player in Grand Slam finals, with the Swiss star also beating Djokovic in the 2014 Australian Open quarter-final en route to what was Wawrinka’s first Major title. Their most recent meeting came less than 12 months ago at the Rome Masters.
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It was the Serb who routined the 37-year-old 6-2 6-2 and later went on to lift the title. But before that, Djokovic had been forced to retire to Wawrinka during their 2019 US Open last-16 clash.
Wawrinka will need to get through 18-year-old Van Assche if he wants another meeting with Djokovic. The Frenchman has enjoyed a breakthrough start to the season, becoming the youngest player inside the world’s top 100 and making his Grand Slam debut in Australia while also picking up two Challenger titles.
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