Novak Djokovic said on Monday he had not fully recovered from an elbow problem that hampered him during his round of 16 elimination from the Monte-Carlo Masters last week.
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The world number one struggled with his serve before falling to Italian Lorenzo Musetti in in Monte Carlo last week. “My elbow is not in an ideal shape but good enough to be ready for the first match. One of the good things in tennis is that you get new opportunity to prove your worth every week and take a step forward. I’ve turned over a new leaf. Naturally, I wasn’t satisfied with the result in Monte Carlo. But, ever since I landed, I’ve felt welcomed in Banja Luka, a lot of positive energy and positive emotions.” said Novak Djokovic, who underwent elbow surgery in 2018, ahead of this week’s event in Banja Luka.
The Serb Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year. After that, he equaled Rafael Nadal’s men’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. He will be among the favorites for next month’s French Open. The 35-year-old will face 87th-ranked French teenager Luca Van Assche. Earlier, Van Assche knocked out Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 on Monday in the Banja Luka second round.
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“I don’t know much about the young French player, thought Wawrinka would win the match. I saw (Van Assche) play but not for long, he is a real fighter, fast, it’s difficult to get past him. No one should be underestimated.” Novak Djokovic said ahead of the tournament which was moved from his hometown of Belgrade due to site works.
On the other hand, Van Assche, ranked 87th in the world, said it’s a privilege to play against Novak Djokovic. “Novak is a true champion. Not only in tennis but in sports in general. It will be an incredible match. I know I’ll have to give my all to win.”