World number one Novak Djokovic has fluffed his return to the tennis tour. In Monte Carlo on Tuesday, the Serb surprisingly lost to Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in three sets 3:6, 7:6 (7:5), 1:6 and was eliminated in his opening match. The top seed had a walk-through in the first round.

In his first match since his quarter-final exit in Dubai at the end of February, the 20-time Grand Slam tournament winner was far from his top form. With 45 unforced errors, the world number one was far too prone to mistakes. Nine times he let the world number 46 Davidovich Fokina take his serve.

After losing the first set, Djokovic was also down twice in the back-and-forth second set. Although the favourite then saved himself for the decisive third set, he did not manage the turnaround. On the contrary, the set went to the Spaniard without much resistance and the match was over after 2:54 hours.

Due to the missing vaccination, Djokovic missed the tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami
“It’s going to take some time and some matches to really get going,” Djokovic had admitted earlier. “The last four, five months have been really challenging for me mentally and emotionally.” Djokovic was not allowed to play in the hard-court tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami in the US because of his lack of a vaccination against the corona virus. He was unable to secure 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. His only tournament before Monte Carlo this year was in Dubai.

In Monte Carlo, after Djokovic’s exit, Alexander Zverev from Hamburg is the highest ranked player in the field. The Olympic champion will play the Argentine Federico Delbonis on Wednesday.