Injury makes Djokovic uncertain starter

AFP, MONTE CARLO, Monaco

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 - Page 20

Novak Djokovic admitted on Sunday that he cannot guarantee he will start the Monte Carlo Masters as he battles the after effects of an ankle injury.

“I can’t guarantee 100 percent that I’ll be on court. I have to be realistic and cautious,” said the world No. 1 who rolled his right ankle badly a week ago during Serbia’s Davis Cup win in the US. “I’ve had three days of practice and I’ve been increasing the level each day.”

“If I have discomfort over the next two days that would be an indication if I should or should not play,” he said.

Djokovic, who is based in Monte Carlo and feels a responsibility to compete if possible in his “home” event, said that he will make a final decision by today.

He and the other top eight seeds all received byes into the second round.

“This is a strong event and there is no room for compromise,” the Australian Open champion said.

“This is the start of a new season on a new surface. To compete at a high level I must be 100 percent fit,” he said.

“I’ve been taping the ankle and doing all I can to be ready on the court. I know there is a lot of expectation for me to play — no one wants me to be out there more than I do. I consider this a very special place and I’m extra-motivated,” Djokovic said.

Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic’s European claycourt season got off to the worst possible start as the Australian went down 2-6, 4-6 to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round on Sunday.

With leading seeds given first-round byes at the cliffside Monte Carlo Country Club, only three main draw matches were scheduled on Sunday.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber dispatched Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 6-2, while Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria also made it through with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Belgium’s Xavier Malisse.

US CLAY COURT

AFP, HOUSTON, Texas

Fifth seeded John Isner claimed his sixth career title and first on clay by beating Nicolas Almagro in straight sets in the final of the US Clay Court Championships on Sunday.

The American blasted seven aces en route to a 6-3, 7-5 win over his Spanish opponent at River Oaks Country Club in Houston.

Isner, who was the runner-up in this event last year, went one better this time, being broken just once in the 81-minute match.

“I’ve always known I could play well on clay,” Isner said. “This week is a little surprising, as Monday was the first day I hit a ball on clay since September.”

GRAND PRIX HASSAN II

AFP, CASABLANCA, Morocco

Spain’s Tommy Robredo ended a two-year trophy drought on Sunday when he captured his 10th claycourt title by beating South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-3 in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II.

The 30-year-old saw his ranking return to the top 50 yesterday.

Robredo missed five months of the season last year with a leg injury and saw his ranking crash to 471.