World number one Novak Djokovic is looking forward to his return to competitive action at the Masters tournament in Monte Carlo, but is not expecting too much from himself.

“I miss the competition,” the 34-year-old Serb said on Sunday ahead of his entry into the clay court classic. “It will take some time and some matches to really get into the swing of things,” admitted the winner of 20 Grand Slam tournaments.

Djokovic was not allowed to play in the major hard court tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami in the USA recently because of the lack of a vaccination against the corona virus. He was unable to get a start at the Australian Open at the beginning of the season and had to leave Melbourne again in January after a legal tug-of-war. In his only start so far this year, Djokovic was eliminated in the quarter-finals in Dubai at the end of February. Shortly afterwards, he announced his separation from his long-time coach Marian Vajda.

“The past four, five months have been really challenging for me, mentally and emotionally. But here I am, trying to put all that behind me and look forward,” Djokovic said. Due to the regulations in place in Monaco and in France, he will also be able to compete in the French Open from 22 May. He wants to take the title at the second Grand Slam tournament of the season as motivation.

He had temporarily lost his place at the top of the world rankings to US Open winner Daniil Medvedev, but is now back ahead of the Russian, who was eliminated early in Indian Wells. Medvedev recently missed out on a return to the top in Miami and is taking a break after undergoing surgery for a small hernia.