June 20, 2024
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s 2024 season has not exactly gone according to plan, but Feliciano Lopez doesn’t feel “it’s enough to think that Djokovic is going through a bad patch”.

World No 1 Djokovic is 11-4 so far this campaign and he remains without a title as he tasted defeat in all four of the tournaments he entered.

He kicked off his year at the United Cup, but was beaten in the quarter-final by Alex de Minaur as Serbia lost against Australia. That was followed by a semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open, a third-round loss to Luca Nardi at Indian Wells and a last-four defeat at the hands of Casper Ruud at Monte Carlo.

Despite finding himself in unfamiliar territory, Djokovic has also opted to skip the Miami Open in March and next week’s Madrid Open.

Former world No 12 and Madrid Open Tournament Director Lopez, though, feels the four defeats are not enough to suggest that the 24-time Grand Slam winner has lost his touch.

“I think he’s playing well. He lost in the final in Australia, then he played before the clay swing in Indian Wells and lost early, but I don’t think it’s enough to think that Djokovic is going through a bad patch,” he told the official Madrid Open website.

“In Australia, he lost to Sinner, who played a great game. I think there would have to be more tournaments in which Djokovic isn’t at his best to think that he’s in a rut.

“There’s still a lot of the season left and honestly, if he doesn’t have any fitness issues, and as I understand it he doesn’t, then I think he’ll be one of the ones fighting for the big titles, as he has done over the last 15 years.”

With Djokovic unable to dominate this year, other players have stepped up with Sinner now the form player on the Tour as he has already won three titles while Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev have also starred.

Lopez believes Sinner and Alcaraz will lead for the next few years although he is not writing off Medvedev.

“I’m seeing a very big generational change, and the players are very different to before,” the Spaniard said.

“We’re going to see some very different years and not such a clear dominance of just a few players, although I think there will be two, Sinner and Alcaraz, who will be at the top.

“Obviously, there’ll be people who disagree, but I think they have something different to the rest. After them, Medvedev, he’s a little older, but he belongs to the same generation as Carlos and Jannik.

“I think he’s made his case for us to consider him a contender for the big tournaments in the coming years. But I think it’ll be between Carlos and Jannik at the helm.”

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