“Have To Put in 200%”: Aslan Karatsev Reveals His Tactics During Battle Against Novak Djokovic at Serbia Open 2021

Published 04/25/2021, 6:43 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 14, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his second round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic featured this week in the ATP Serbia Open 2021. After cruising through the initial rounds, he suffered defeat in the semifinal against Russian player Aslan Karatsev. It was one of the most hard-fought battles this season and won’t be forgotten any time soon. The Serb lost 5-7, 6-4, 4-6 in a match that lasted for 3 hours and 25 minutes. 

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After the match, the Russian talent reflected on the challenges faced to overcome Novak Djokovic. Aslan even compared facing the Serb to facing a wall. Playing against the 18-time Grand Slam champion is one of the toughest tasks in tennis, and yesterday was no different. It takes great effort to win points against the best player in the world. 

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 15, 2021, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after losing his third-round match against Britain’s Dan Evans REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The 27-year-old player stated, “It was a long, tough match [against a] tough opponent. You have to put [in] like 200 percent to beat this guy, it’s like playing against a wall. And he also made some good shots. He doesn’t give you any free points. He always makes you play and you have to be always there because once you miss a couple of shots, he just takes it very quickly. That’s how I lost the second set.”

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Aslan Karatsev believed he could beat Novak Djokovic

Aslan Karatsev discussed tactics with his coach prior to the match. To stand a chance against Novak, one must enter the court with a positive and optimistic mindset. Every point will be fought till the end and there won’t any free points. Most importantly, one must have the self-belief to cause the unexpected.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Russia’s Aslan Karatsev celebrates winning his quarter final match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Kelly Defina

The third-seeded player at the Serbia Open 2021 further added, “I stepped on the court to win. I was believing [in myself], and I said to myself that I would play every ball no matter what. I tried to keep this strategy that we spoke about with the coach. You have to fight for every ball, that was the key to success.”

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The Russian will now face Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini in the final and will look to claim his second title of the season. Karatsev won the title at the Dubai Tennis Championships earlier this year. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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While this is a disappointing loss for Djokovic in his own backyard, the season has still been a success so far with the Serb winning his ninth Australian Open Grand Slam title this year. Prior to the Serbia Open, he competed in Monte Carlo but lost during the initial stages. He is scheduled to feature in the Mutua Madrid Open next week. 

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Rohan Kollare

1088 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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