The 18-year-old will play his second round match against world No.1, Serbian Novak Djokovic, exempted from the first round. Eliminated last week in the round of 16 in Monte-Carlo by the Italian Lorenzo Musetti, the Serb will face an unknown opponent but in front of an audience that will be his ally, on a pitch just built for this tournament in the capital of Bosnian Serb entity.
“I've never met this boy before, I don't know much about him. I know he is young, that he has just joined the hundred best in the world,” Djokovic said at a press conference in Banja Luka. “I honestly thought Wawrinka was going to win today, he was leading most of the game. So it is indeed a surprise, the victory of this little guy, this Frenchman”, said “Nole”, qualifying Van Assche as a “fighter (...) fast”, “very difficult to master”.
Djokovic, who still hasn't fully recovered from a right arm injury he was already suffering from in Monte Carlo. “The elbow is not in ideal condition, but let's say it's good enough. I hope it will be fully ready for the first game,” he explained. This ATP 250 tournament traditionally takes place in Belgrade. He was relocated this season to Banja Luka, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, due to modernization works at the Belgrade site.