Novak Djokovic Remains Cautious Despite Strong Start At Monte-Carlo Masters: 'Let's Not Get Ahead Of Ourselves'

Despite his convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory against Roman Safiullin at Monte-Carlo Masters, Novak Djokovic is keeping his expectations in check as he chases his first title of the year.
Novak Djokovic

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in action

Photo : ATP Tour
Despite his convincing victory against Roman Safiullin in his campaign opener at Monte-Carlo Masters, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is keeping his expectations in check as he chases his first title of the year.
The Serbian moved past Safiullin 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday at the Monte-Carlo Masters to reach the third round in the Principality for the 14th time.
"It's a great start. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and put the hopes too high," Djokovic said in his post-match press conference.
"It's only one match, but the way I felt, I'm really pleased. It's just the beginning of the tournament. It's one match. I'm going to hope to work tomorrow to maintain that rhythm and focus, obviously try to perform as well as I did in the second match as I did today," he added.
A 98-time tour-level titlist, Djokovic is 9-3 on the season, with his best result a semi-final run at the Australian Open. Last month, he suffered an early exit at the Paribas Open, where he fell to Luca Nardi in the third round.
Having failed to advance beyond the quarterfinals in his seven most recent appearances in the Principality, two-time tournament champion Djokovic will hope this is the week he can return to top form and change that record.
Committing just nine unforced errors and advancing after 70 minutes Tuesday was an encouraging start for the 24-time major champion.
"I really like the way I felt today on the court, the way I was striking the ball. I think the two, three weeks of training I had is paying off. [I had a] good training block with [Nenad] Zimonjic and with the team," Djokovic said.
"We put in a lot of hours into thinking about the game, the movement, and things that haven't really worked for me in the first couple tournaments of this year that I played," he added.
The 36-year-old, who on Sunday became the oldest No. 1 in ATP Rankings history, is chasing a record-extending 41st ATP Masters 1000 crown this week. Should he lift the trophy, it would mark the top seed's third sweep of all nine Masters 1000 tournaments.
Having won in the Principality in 2013 and 2015, Djokovic will next meet Italian Lorenzo Musetti or #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils in the third round. Last year, Musetti upset Djokovic in Monte-Carlo in the same round.
"I'm not scared of anything and anybody, but I really hope that I can get the chance to play him again, get the matchup, another matchup here," said Djokovic, who leads Musetti 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.
"He obviously is one of the most talented players on clay, a beautiful one-handed backhand. He's very athletic. He can do a lot of great things. He's one of the most promising young players not only from Italy, but generally for the world," he added.
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