Tue, 05 Jul 2022

The Serb is set to make his Grand Slam comeback at Roland-Garros

World number one Novak Djokovic picked up yet another career win on Sunday - number 1,001, for the record - in the final of the Italian Open in Rome where he triumphed over Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets (6-0 7-6(5)) at the Stadio del tennis di Roma.

It was the Serb's first tournament win in six months in a year which has been hampered by off-the-court setbacks due to his vaccination status which had ruled him out of several events in 2022 - most notably the Australian Open early this year when he was deported from the country after falling foul of vaccination mandates.

The Italian clay court tournament was ideal preparation for the French Open in which Djokovic is considered among the favorites to win - and his victory over Tsitsipas ensured that he will take to the court in Paris with his status as the world's top player intact.

Speaking after what was the 38th Masters 1000 title of his illustrious career, Djokovic said that he couldn't have wished for better preparation ahead of the pursuit of what would be a record-equaling 21st Grand Slam win in France.

"I pleasantly surprised myself," he said of his performance.

"Even though I have a clear gameplan and strategy coming into the match I knew what was expected of me from the other side. I knew what I had to do.

"The tie-breaker I was an inch better, maybe calmer, but it was a tight tie-break for both of us certainly.

"Two days ago [in the quarter-final] I played great," he added.

"I've been building my form the last couple of weeks. Like the previous years I knew that my best shape on the clay usually comes around Rome time. It couldn't be a better time to come into Roland-Garros with a title in this wonderful tournament."

The win over Tsitsipas was a repeat of last year's French Open final, and the fifth match in succession in which he has failed to defeat the Serb on clay.

And in his own comments after the match, the Greek paid tribute to the Djokovic as he continues to set himself apart from his peers.

"I try my best every single day," he said. "I really hope I can get to your level one day. It's very inspiring."

Tsitsipas later added: "He has everything tuned in close to perfection. When it comes to his diet or his everyday life, his tennis, he has everything scheduled out really well.

"He's like a Formula 1 car: every single small detail can disrupt his rhythm. He makes sure every single thing that he does is reaching as close to perfection as possible.

"In terms of talking about tennis legends and breaking records, when it comes to all these things, I personally think he's one of the most professional and the best of them all."

(RT.com)

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