Novak Djokovic proved to be instrumental in the Davis Cup rubber having Serbia playing against Spain. Without Nadal or Bautista-Agut, its best ranked male players, the Iberian country had no chance. Serbia is now in the semifinals while Djokovic will be heading towards the Clay Court swing. The European red clay will be the center point of men's tennis for the upcoming months having several high-rated events up for grabbing. Despite a poor overall performance during the outdoor hard session, Djokovic is expected to bounce back. The 29-year-old Serb is set to make his first appearance on clay during the Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo, a tournament he won twice in the past in 2013 and 2015.

Djokovic has to match last year's performance

Back in 2016, during the same moment of the season, there was nothing that might have anticipated the downward spiral the Serb was about to take. Comfortably at the top of ranking with a huge gap between him and the herd, the Serb did a solid clay season capturing the title in Madrid as well as the maiden French Open crown. He made it to three finals during this segment, Madrid, Rome and the French Open. Each time, he faced Andy Murray in the final act prevailing twice while the Scot capped the title in Rome. Monte Carlo is the sole clay court event where Djokovic was upset in the early stages losing to Jiri Vesely in the second round. With no ranking points' pressure at the very first event, the Serb might wants to take the most out of this first showdown.

Still, the context presents itself in a complicated manner as he is recovering from an elbow injury that prevented him from putting in his best tennis. It was also the reason for his withdrawal in Miami. For the moment, his slot in the ranking is secured, but he has to defend more than 3000 points on clay. But so does Andy Murray, while Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer, the closest in the ranking, will only accumulate.

Clay might be a restart button

Last year, after winning the French Open, Djokovic booked himself a spot in the history of this sports. It also put an end to an era of crushing dominance from the Serb tennis star. A year later, he has the opportunity to reinvent himself on the European dirt. Having won just a single title in 2017, namely in Doha back in January, the Serb's lack of success is rather unusual compared to the previous seasons.

But that might change soon as he has in position a unique skill-set without which there wouldn't have been 12 Grand Slam titles in his pocket. If his body will remain injury-free, it's likely to have Djokovic competing in Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome and the French Open. A 12-3 win-loss record in 2017 seems quite inappropriate for an athlete of such caliber.