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Novak Djokovic saves all five of the break points he faces to defeat Gael Monfils on Tuesday in Madrid.

Djokovic Calls Madrid Opener 'Best Performance Of The Year'

World No. 1 reflects on victory against Monfils

Novak Djokovic is moving in the right direction.

The World No. 1 admitted he was pleased with his performance Tuesday against Gael Monfils at the Mutua Madrid Open. It was just a second-round win for the Serbian, but it could prove an important one.

“I would probably rate it as the best performance of the year,” Djokovic said.

The three-time Madrid champion is now 18-0 against Monfils, the former World No. 6. Not only did Djokovic defeat the Frenchman in straight sets, but he was undeterred by a slight rain interruption in the first set.

“I felt very good on the court. [The] interruption probably helped me a bit more than him,” Djokovic said. “Conditions of the training days in the past three days were different than what we experienced tonight. It was slower, and obviously because of the rain it was heavier court and [there was] more clay.”

Djokovic added of his effort: "[It was] just generally [a] very, very good performance. I'm very pleased, considering that up to today I was not playing my best tennis in the few tournaments that I played this year and still kind of finding my rhythm, finding my groove.”

It was not long ago that there was concern for Djokovic fans when the 34-year-old made a slow start to his clay-court season. The World No. 1 lost his opening match in Monte Carlo and nearly was upset in his opening match in Belgrade.

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But Djokovic advanced to the final at his home event, winning three matches in a deciding set. And now he carries momentum into his third-round match at the Caja Magica.

“It's hard to compare the matches obviously. Here is altitude, different conditions. In Belgrade, I played [the] final coming off from three matches where I played long three sets, and physically [I was] a little bit exhausted and drained,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately in the third set that was deciding factor, to lose the match.

“But here, first match of the tournament, I had a week, 10 days to get ready for this match, and for this tournament I have done everything I possibly can to build my fitness and also improve on all aspects of the game, on the court. I'm really glad that it paid off, because I felt good on the court. It's the right process, and it's the right direction.”

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