Madrid Open 2017: Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal into third round

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic beat Andy Murray in last year’s Madrid Open final

World number two Novak Djokovic reached the Madrid Open third round by winning his first match since parting company with his coaching staff on Friday.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion beat Spanish wildcard Nicolas Almagro 6-1 4-6 7-5 and plays Feliciano Lopez next.

Defending champion Djokovic, 29, described Friday’s decision as “shock therapy”, and will be on the tour alone until he appoints a new coach.

Rafael Nadal also went through with victory over Italian Fabio Fognini.

The Spaniard won 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-4 in a match that lasted just under three hours to set up a tie with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

Britain’s Andy Murray is already through to round three after Tuesday’s straight-set victory over Romanian Marius Copil.

He will play world number 88 Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France or Borna Coric, Croatia’s world number 59.

Meanwhile, Djokovic said he may appoint a new coach before the French Open, which begins on 28 May.

“I’m going to think about who I want in my team and I don’t yet have anyone. But I think by the French Open, or after the French Open, I’m going to have someone,” he said.

“I understand people are trying to speculate and create a list because I was saying I would like to have someone who was kind of in my shoes before.”


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

This was a stuttering start to life without the coaching team which had been such a huge part of his career, but Djokovic played very soundly in the deciding set from 0-3 down, as Almagro’s purple patch faded spectacularly.

The world number 2 was watched by his brother Marko and Pepe Imaz – a former pro, who now promotes a ‘Love and Peace Tennis Experience’ – and has been part of Djokovic’s wider team for a few years.

Fognini, meanwhile, reminded us of his exquisite talent in a mesmerising match with Nadal. He saved one match point with a 90mph forehand onto the baseline, but once again, for the 11th time out of 11 on clay this year, Nadal ran out the winner.

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