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Novak Djokovic has cruised into the third round of the French Open, taking down the player who is now working with his former coach.
Djokovic shocked the tennis world in March when he announced that he'd parted ways with long-time mentor Marian Vajda after 15 years.
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Vajda has since teamed up with young Slovakian player Alex Molcan, who was completely outclassed by Djokovic at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
Djokovic made comfortable work of Molcan, the World No.1 winning 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
"So far so good. I'm pleased with the way I'm feeling on the court," Djokovic said after reaching the last 32 at Roland Garros for the 17th-straight year.
"It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well.
"Everything is going in the right direction. I'm looking forward to the next challenge."
Fans couldn't help but point out the uncanny twist that saw Djokovic pitted against Molcan following his split with Vajda.
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) May 25, 2022
“I've written to Marian a few days ago, we have seen each other here as well,” Djokovic said before the match.
“When I looked at the draw, it wasn't easy, I must admit.”
The 35-year-old admitted he was a little uneasy about coming up against Vajda for the first time in his career.
“Molcan for me is an opponent just like any other, but I've never had Marian in the opposing box,” he said.
“To be honest, I am not looking forward to it.”
A hug between Marian Vajda's current and former proteges as Novak Djokovic wraps up a 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Alex Molcan.
Perfectly solid performance from Djokovic without expending too much energy, from what I saw. Great serving. Bedene next.
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) May 25, 2022
Novak Djokovic plays and wins the first match of his career against a player coached by Marian Vajda, beating Alex Molcan 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach the third round in #RolandGarros.
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) May 25, 2022
marian vajda on djokovic’s box
FAR BUT SOOOOO CLOSE
— dee 🌺 | thatspectator (@dianeheruela) May 25, 2022
Not Vajda's fault that Djokovic let him go -- twice.
— Betty Scott 𓃵 (@Betty_A_Scott) May 25, 2022
So was Vajda just supposed to quit tennis because he’s not working with Djokovic anymore? The level of entitlement from Djokovic and his fans is astonishing.
— J Ad (@joodge64) May 25, 2022
Wym Djokovic's luck? He got Vajda in 2R (toughest possible) and is getting one of Dimitrov/Schwartzman in 4R. 😭
— ☁️☀️☁️ (@SaphireTennis) May 25, 2022
That must have been a super difficult match not just for Djokovic but for Vajda as well!!
Former coach & player but still very close friends & they will go down as the greatest combination of player & coach of all time!!
— Reggie🐺🐊 (@Reggie61823972) May 25, 2022
Truth emerges about Djokovic and Vajda split
Vajda had coached Djokovic for 14 of the last 15 seasons, helping him win the majority of his 20 grand slam titles.
The World No.1 is playing in only his sixth tournament of the year because of his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19, which Vajda seemed to suggest played a part in their split.
“It was a combination of various reasons," Vajda said earlier this month.
"We have been together for a really long time and his decisions showed that he wanted to focus on grand slam tournaments – that is why he might think that it is not ideal to have so many people in his team.
"He wanted to reduce it and have only one coach.
“I don’t know for sure, because I never asked him, but I assume from my analysis of his tournament schedule, that he wanted to reduce his team, and he chose Goran Ivanisevic.
"It did not make sense for a coach to coach him only for grand slams, because a coach needs a long-term plan.”
Speaking after his win on Wednesday, Djokovic said: “It was a real pleasure to play on Court Suzanne Lenglen. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to play here.
“I could feel the support. There were tricky conditions today with a lot of wind coming in different directions.
“So I had to stay focused and stay patient.
“I have a lot of respect for Alex, he’s a specialist on this surface.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Rafa Nadal breezed past French wildcard Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 for the 300th grand slam match win of his career.
Roger Federer (369) and Djokovic (325) are the only men to have more than Nadal, despite the Spaniard holding the men's record with 21 grand slam titles.
Nadal's French Open record now stands at a staggering 107-3 since he made his debut in 2005.
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