ATP Monte Carlo second round preview: Rafael Nadal vs Aljaz Bedene


Two-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the second round with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Dusan Lajovic on Monday.

Djokovic was forced to undergo a "small medical intervention" in February to treat his elbow and returned to action earlier than expected at the Indian Wells Masters in the first week of March.

The 28-year-old, who is making his first Monte Carlo appearance since 2012, will face Russian Daniil Medvedev in the next round.

The 22-year-old Aussie stunned Roger Federer in the Miami second round last month and is starting to show the kind of form that made him such a promising prospect back in 2015 when he peaked at 69 in the world as a teenager.

Djokovic had cut a dejected figure and was coming up with despondent replies during a press conference after his defeat in Miami.

" He says he will love to play against me again in best-of-five sets on clay".

"I didn't know in which direction I wanted to go after Indian Wells and Miami".

"I thought it was good considering the amount of matches I've played in the last nearly 12 months", said Djokovic who resides in Monte Carlo. "I just wasn't ready", he added.

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Of all the qualifiers Djokovic could have drawn for his clay-court debut, it fell to his friend and fellow Serb, Lajovic, to try to stop him.

He starts on Wednesday in Monte Carlo against the victor of this afternoon's contest between Aljaz Bedene and Mirza Basic, but his quarter of the drawer is seriously tricky.

Nadal begins his bid for a record-extending 11th Monte Carlo title with a second-round match against either Aljaz Bedene or Mirza Basic.

It is true that, when he confirmed his coaching changes at the start of this month, he had barely mentioned Agassi at all, preferring to heap praise on another now-departed assistant in Radek Stepanek. He has only ever played three matches at the tournament and incidentally, his last clash there was a three-set defeat to Berdych, who takes on the Japanese in the opening round next week.

"He's more like a brother, a father. someone I can share a lot of things with, whether it's professional or private life", Djokovic said.

"But today, you know, (I'm) pain-free".

"I always enjoy this European season".

"He knows me inside out". I can remember before they met in one Wimbledon final asking Federer about Nadal's habit of slowing play down every time he gets in trouble, bouncing the ball forever before hitting his serve.