Relieved Djokovic resumes quest to spice up Grand Slam tally at French Open

Novak Djokovic

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 15, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts throughout the closing towards Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Novak Djokovic was able to skip Grand Slams slightly than take a COVID-19 vaccine following the Australian Open fiasco, however the world primary has been build up steam in a stop-start season to peak in time for his French Open title protection.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion was unable to defend his Australian Open title in January after being deported from the nation, having initially been admitted to the match regardless of not taking the vaccine.

Djokovic started his season late in Dubai and was knocked off prime spot following a shock loss to qualifier Jiri Vesely within the quarter-finals earlier than pulling out of Indian Wells and Miami as he was unable to achieve entry into the United States.

The Serbian risked being frozen out of Roland Garros as properly attributable to his vaccine stance however earned a reprieve when France lifted restrictions in nearly all public areas in March.

The claycourt swing in April produced blended outcomes because the 34-year-old was shocked by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina early in Monte Carlo and Andrey Rublev within the Belgrade closing, earlier than he fell to red-hot Carlos Alcaraz within the Madrid semis this month.

But after capturing his first title in over six months with out dropping a set on the Italian Open final week, Djokovic confirmed he was one of many prime contenders forward of his bid for a twenty first Grand Slam crown to maneuver degree with Rafa Nadal.

“To some extent it’s a relief because after everything that happened at the beginning of the year, it was important to win a big title,” stated Djokovic, who gained his sixth crown in Rome and sealed his 1,000th tour-level win alongside the best way.

“Especially with Grand Slams coming up, where I want to play my best and be at the level of confidence … to have a chance to win the title.”

‘Perfect preparation’

Djokovic reiterated that he would use his hardship in a tumultuous yr as gasoline for the rest of the season after he dismantled Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0 7-6(5) within the Rome closing.

“Anything I was really looking for in Rome I got,” stated Djokovic, who additionally beat world quantity 4 Tsitsipas in final yr’s French Open title conflict.

“It’s the perfect preparation and lead-up to Roland Garros. I’m going to Paris with confidence and good feelings about my chances. With the rankings and the way I’ve been playing in the last few weeks, I’d rate myself as one of the favorites.”

Nadal’s foot damage earlier than the yr’s second Grand Slam might reinforce Djokovic’s claims, however Spanish 19-year-old Alcaraz — who beat each gamers en path to the Madrid title and appears primed for main success — represents a hurdle.

“I don’t obviously spend too much time thinking who’s going to win it or who might have the best chance,” Djokovic stated. “I at all times take into consideration myself.

“I’m going there with the best ambitions… Obviously the draw isn’t one thing you’ll be able to have an effect on, however it’s going to find out my trajectory to the later levels.

“Best of five sets, you play every second day. It’s a Grand Slam. It’s different … you have to approach it differently.”


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