Novak Djokovic says he is still dealing with an elbow issue heading into this week’s Srpska Open as the Serb looks to get his French Open preparations back on track following his early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Djokovic suffered a third-round defeat to Lorenzo Musetti in Monte Carlo last week, the 22-times Grand Slam champion’s serve broken eight times by the Italian.
“My elbow is not in an ideal shape but good enough to be ready for the first match,” Djokovic told reporters.
“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.”
Djokovic will face 18-year-old Luca Van Assche in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday after the Frenchman claimed a 1-6 7-6(4) 6-4 victory over three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.
“I don’t know much about the young French player,” Djokovic said.
“I 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.” Van Assche, ranked 87th in the world, said it was a privilege to play against Djokovic.
“Novak is a true champion. Not only in tennis but in sports in general,” he added. “It will be an incredible match. I know I’ll have to give my all to win.” The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the season, begins on May 28.