SHANGHAI — Jeremy Chardy has lost track of how many times he’s lost to Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic. It’s a lot.
Chardy set up a 12th career meeting against Djokovic – he thought it was a 15th – after beating Maximilian Marterer of Germany 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the first round at the Shanghai Masters on Sunday.
“He keeps on telling me that,” said Djokovic about Chardy crediting him with more wins than he’s actually earned.
“Joking aside, he’s a great guy. I get along very well with him. What I did well in the past in our matchups, I managed to neutralize his first serve, and also take advantage of his second serve, and try to be consistent on my service games, move him around the court, because he’s not the best mover.
“So I try to expose his weaknesses.”
In their 11 previous meetings, Djokovic has won all 26 sets they’ve played.
“I haven’t found the key … so I would like to try something different even if I get killed,” Chardy said while laughing. “It is not easy to believe once you lost all these times in a row and never won a set.
“The way I played the last times just didn’t work. I feel like I already tried different things. If you have an idea. I will listen.”
Chardy saved all three break points he faced in the match against Marterer.
“The courts here are really fast and I was surprised because I didn’t think we had courts this fast on tour,” Chardy said. “Maybe that will help me (against Djokovic).”
Djokovic, who has increased his Grand Slam titles to 14, is back in winning form after going through a nearly two-year period of lackluster results and injury. In January, he finally underwent right elbow surgery after alternate attempts to heal the injury failed.
“I am really glad that I put myself in a position to compete for No. 1 of the world,” the third-ranked Djokovic said. “Four, five months ago, that was looking a little bit far from reach, but with the recent results, I put myself in a pretty decent position to fight for No. 1, year-end No. 1, which of course is always one of the ultimate goals that you have as a professional tennis player.”
Djokovic has won the Shanghai title three times.
The 12th-seeded American Jack Sock is already out of the tournament, losing to Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3.