Basketball: Novak Djokovic attends Roca Team defeat

Monaco's Mike James v Partizan Belgrade

AS Monaco Basketball succumbed to defeat in a dead rubber against Partizan Belgrade (84-88) on Friday in front of Novak Djokovic, who was in attendance ahead of the Monte-Carlo Masters.

The end result of Monaco’s match against their Serbian opponents was ultimately inconsequential. The Roca Team have already secured their place in the Euroleague’s top four, meaning they will have home-court advantage for the upcoming playoffs.

Partizan, however, do still have something to play for, and as things stand, they will face Monaco in the Euroleague quarter-finals thanks to Friday’s victory. However, one game remains, and Monaco’s post-season opponent could yet change. Fenerbahçe and Maccabi Tel-Aviv are the alternatives and are joint on wins with Partizan.

The Roca Team trailed for much of the match, but despite at one point facing a 15-point deficit (38-53), they fought back to parity to make for an exciting money-time, during which Partizan ultimately prevailed.

Novak Djokovic: “It was an amazing atmosphere.”

Despite being a Monaco resident, the result likely pleased Djokovic, who dropped into the Salle Gaston Médecin to watch the Serbian side prevail against the Roca Team.

Novak Djokovic at the Salle Gaston Médecin
Photo of Novak Djokovic by AS Monaco Basket

“It was an amazing match and it was an amazing atmosphere. Partizan played really well for most of the match and were leading, but then Monaco showed why they’re one of the best teams in the Euroleague this season. It was so close,” said the Serbian tennis player.

Djokovic isn’t the first tennis player to sample the Princiaplity’s basketball offering. Two-time Monte-Carlo Masters winner Stefanos Tsitsipas has attended matches this season, whilst Alexander Zverev witnessed a Roca Team victory last week.

Roca Team return to winning ways

Monaco were looking to bounce back on the Sunday when they faced Pau-Lacq-Orthez in the Betclic Elite. After an early scare (0-7), Les Monégasques fought back to comfortably beat their French opponents (72-94). The Roca Team have four wins more than their nearest challenger Boulogne-Levallois. “Even if we have a lead in the standings, we’re not going to ease off,” assured captain Yakuba Ouattara.

Monaco face Dijon on Wednesday before facing Anadolu Efes in the final game of the Euroleague regular season on Friday.


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Photo by AS Monaco Basket