Djokovic Delights Home Crowd, Wins Belgrade Open

Novak Djokovic

BELGRADE, May 29, 2021

Novak Djokovic delighted his home crowd by winning the 2021 Belgrade Open on Saturday. On a sunny and warm afternoon with temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius in Serbia’s capital city, the World No. 1 defeated Slovakian qualifier Alex Molcan, who appeared in his first final on the ATP Tour, 6-4, 6-3.

Despite being far from his best, Djokovic was in control of the encounter for most of the time. In front of about 1,500 spectators at the Novak Tennis Center, situated right next to the Sava River, the 34-year-old lost his serve three times in the first set but converted six of his own eight break-point chances in the match to secure victory in one hour and 28 minutes.

“It’s been a while since I last played here in front of a crowd,” said Djokovic. “We played here one month ago [at the Serbia Open], without a crowd. To hold a trophy here after 10 years is really special and it couldn’t be better ahead of Roland Garros. I am playing well, feeling good and I have spent quality time with my family.”

By lifting his third trophy in Belgrade following his triumphs in 2009 and 2011, Djokovic pocketed €78,795 in prize money as well as 250 ATP Ranking points. The next highlight for the Serbian superstar is just around the corner, as the French Open will start on Sunday.

“The title will give me great confidence flying into Paris. I am thrilled with the way I was playing this week and satisfied with the way I am feeling on the court. I am ready and hope to start the tournament in Paris in the best possible way,” said Djokovic.

Molcan with positive week

World No. 255 Molcan, who beat Serbian wild card entries Hamad Medjedovic and Pedja Krstin as well as Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco and No. 8 seed Federico Delbonis of Argentina en-route to his maiden championship match, could take a lot of positives from Belgrade.

“I’m feeling good and tired,” said Molcan. “I made my first ATP Tour final from qualification. I played good tennis here and I was fighting. Today, I tried as well, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t play badly, but I was playing against Djokovic and you have to play unbelievably well. Hopefully, I can continue to have opportunities to play at this level. It was a big lesson today to play against Novak.”

The 23-year-old earned €46,290 as well as 150 ATP Ranking points.