Foki's Djokovic Battle Plan: 'You Have To Take It To Him'

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2023

Foki’s Djokovic Battle Plan: ‘You Have To Take It To Him’

Spaniard defeated the Serbian last year in Monte-Carlo

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

Novak Djokovic will take to court at Roland Garros on Friday knowing that his opponent won their last match.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat the Serbian in Monte-Carlo in April last year in an intense three-set clash. The two players meet again on Friday in Paris as they both chase a place in the third round of the season’s second Grand Slam.

“It’s completely different to Monte-Carlo,” said the World No. 34 Davidovich Fokina. “Here it’s five sets, and there he’d hardly played any matches… We all know what Djokovic is like. He’s a legend. Playing against him will be an honour, as will returning to [Court] Philippe-Chatrier.

“I’m going to be ready. I’m playing at a good level, I’ve been very relaxed for two matches, competing at a high level. I can’t wait to keep doing that for another match.”

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“It was a strange match at the start of the clay season, when I tend to be a long way from my best,” concurred the two-time Roland Garros champion Djokovic when asked about his memories of his defeat in Monaco. “[Davidovich Fokina] is a specialist on the surface, a player who has progressed a lot in recent years, and he’s defeated several good players this season, including [Holger] Rune in Madrid.

“He’s a complete player and he’s capable of playing at a very high level, definitely one of the toughest opponents you could meet in the third round. I know that he will prepare well with the intention of winning, but I believe in myself.”

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The 23-year-old Davidovich Fokina is about to face one of the biggest challenges in the game: beating Djokovic in a Grand Slam. However, it seems to be one he is relishing. His words ooze confidence and he has a clear plan that he thinks can carry him to victory.

“I know Djokovic pretty well, I’ve also watched him a lot on TV,” said Davidovich Fokina. “We’ve practised a couple of times in Marbella, and I get on well with his team. Of course, he’s quite intimidating, but when you play against him several times you see that he is another player who can be beaten. You can’t be afraid, you have to take it to him.”

Davidovich Fokina reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2021, when he bowed out to Alexander Zverev. Djokovic is bidding for his third title in Paris, and if he is successful he will set a new record for Grand Slam titles (23), surpassing Rafael Nadal (22). Despite his Monte-Carlo defeat to Davidovich Fokina, Djokovic leads 2-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

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