‘Mentally this is a very important win,’ says Novak Djokovic after record-breaking win in Madrid

Novak Djokovic has made a winning start at the Madrid Open and in doing so has both extended his record as world number one and broke a new ATP record.

Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 making him the first man to hold an 18-0 ATP Head2Head record against an opponent in the Open era.

With the win, the Serbian has also assured himself of a 369th week as World number one next week.

If Djokovic had lost the match he would have been overtaken in the top spot by the injured Daniil Medvedev.

Asked about his incredible record against Frenchman Monfils, Djokovic said it hasn’t always been as clear cut as it was today.

“I don’t have any explanation for that, I just try to approach it like any other match,” said Djokovic.

“I guess his game is suitable to my game in terms of playing style. But we’ve had some very close matchups. The last time we played in Dubai he had match points, so that could have easily broken the record.”

Djokovic has had a difficult start to the season after his public deportation from Australia and subsequent lack of match play so was delighted to ease into the second round of the Madrid Open.

“For me mentally this is a very important win,” said Djokovic.

“I played one of the most athletic and quickest players that we have in the game.

“I know his game very well. I know I have to always be ready that another ball will always come back from his part of the court, that you have to constantly try to have a controlled aggression… and dictate the point.

“I was moving well, dictating with the forehand side, moving him around the court and finding my serve [and] also the last few service games, [finding my] return.”

Djokovic will meet former world number one Andy Murray in the next round after he beat Denis Shapovalov.

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