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Djokovic keeping his Monte Carlo expectations in check

Novak Djokovic admitted on Saturday that he is not expecting too much from his clay game heading into Sunday’s start of the Monte Carlo Masters.

The world number one who exited early on the Indian Wells hardcourts last month and did not play in Miami, had a training session at the Monte Carlo Country Club venue with fill-in coach Nenad Zimonjic.

But the 24-time Grand Slam titleholder was quick to emphasise that the arrangement is so far strictly temporary following his recent split with longtime mentor Goran Ivanisevic.

Djokovic said that building his clay game for Roland Garros is his main priority and that any result here will be “a bonus”.

“The expectations are not very high,” the 36-year-old said. “My results here in previous years (titles in 2013 and 2015) are not great.

“It’s all about building my game for clay courts. I want to reach my peak for Paris – that’s where I want to play my best tennis.

“Anything else is a bonus, so let’s see what happens.”

The Serb shed slightly more light on his surprise split from 2001 Wimbledon winner Ivanisevic after winning 12 Grand Slam singles titles with the Croat heading his team.

“We felt we gave each other the maximum, it was time to move on – it’s pretty simple.

“Goran remains one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game.

“We’ve done something that cannot be deleted, the results speak for themselves.

“He also remains a dear friend of me and my family.”

Djokovic said that he will work to prepare for the Summer Olympic tournament to be staged in late July in Paris at Roland Garros.

“But there is this little tournament called Wimbledon which comes in between (the French Open and the Games.

“The Paris Olympics are very important, the Olympics have always been a priority for me.

“But in the last three or four Olympics it’s not been possible for me to reach the later stages.

“The situation is a bit different now, we are playing our first Olympics on clay. I want to be ready physically and mentally.”

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