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Djokovic at Monte Carlo Masters Tests his Football Skills with Neymar

“Keepie uppie” is the skill of juggling with a football using feet, lower legs, knees, chest, shoulders, and head, without allowing the ball to hit the ground. And guess who is good enough at it to dare to play it with Paris Saint-Germain superstars Neymar and Marco Verratti? 

It is Monaco’s Novak Djokovic, the world number 1 tennis player who took a break from his preparations for the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Monday, to test his skills on the football pitch. 

Pretty brave even for the GOAT (greatest of all time) contender Novak. Neymar is one of the most renowned names in world football and has scored 71 goals for Brazil’s national team, while Italy’s Verratti is known as one of Europe’s most skilful and tenacious midfielders.

French football, Ligue 1 Paris Saint-Germain, have won seven of the past nine league championships, with Neymar and Verratti spearheading their rise to one of the top clubs in Europe.

Djokovic is a two-time champion in Monte-Carlo and and was hoping to crown his 2022 campaign here with a third title which is virtually the personal trophy of Rafael Nadal who has 11 Monte-Carlo Masters and even has a hotel room in the Monte Carlo Bay named after him.

No doubt Novak would like a room named after himself too and a third title would be one way of putting himself in the running. But after a fantastic match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round on Tuesday, which brought the crowd cheering to their feet numerous times, Djokovic succumbed to defeat in a galant effort. We cross our fingers for Novak again in 2023 but Nadal may have something to say about anyone who competes for “his personal trophy”! 

Brazilians Neymar and Melo

Wild card doubles pairing Marcelo Melo and Alexander Zverev also caught up Neymar. Former World No. 1 doubles star Melo will hope the time spent with his countryman can inspire him to a 10th Masters 1000 title this week – the Brazilian has never lifted the trophy in Monte-Carlo.

Meanwhile, Zverev is seeking a maiden singles title at the only clay-court Masters 1000 event he is yet to win.

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