May 10, 2024

Ahead of the French Open, Novak Djokovic has warned his opponents that he is expected to perform at his best during the year’s second Grand Slam.


The world No. 1 says he has overcome all of his fitness worries since his previous competition in Monte Carlo a month ago. He is in Rome for his final warm-up event before defending his Roland Garros title.


With Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz, two of his main competitors, sidelined by injuries from the Rome Master, Djokovic seems to be in a strong position to turn things around at the ideal time and propel his season to new heights.


Despite having played only 12 regular tour matches in 2024, the Serbian may be short on match experience, but he was in a confident frame of mind as he got ready to return to the courts in Rome.


In response to his most recent tennis hiatus following his decision not to compete at the Madrid Open, he remarked, “I had plenty of time to also rest and train.”


I had a productive training session. I came here two days ago to get some experience on the center court and to train for four or five days prior to my first game against elite players.


“Training with them obviously provides a distinct experience as you play practice sets, assess your level of play, and gradually improve your form in preparation for your first formal match. Therefore.


“I believe I’m headed toward a strong finish at Roland Garros in Paris. I’m hoping to play better in Rome than I did in Monte Carlo. Naturally, the goal is to always achieve greatness.


“Let’s investigate. The idea has changed since then. For the first time, Rome and Madrid will take place over two weeks, similar to Indian Wells and Miami.


“I believe that’s helpful for me because it allows you, I guess, more time to recover between matches if you continue in the tournament.”


For the first time, Djokovic also discussed his decision to fire fitness coach Marco Panichi, with Gebhard Gritsch temporarily rejoining his squad in Rome.


He said, “I am currently working with a fitness coach that I worked with for many years.”


“I quickly became accustomed to his program and methodology. We are really well acquainted.


Because of this, I believe that our goals and approaches to the training program, both on and off the court, have been in sync from the start.


“So, yeah, I’m happy with how the last ten or fourteen days went in terms of training, preparation, and anticipating this competition, especially the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, and Roland Garros.” We are most ready for that particular block.


All we can do is wait and see how it will be used, how it will be turned into a strong performance on the court.


“Your training regimen with sparring partners—who may not be elite athletes—differs greatly from that of your fiercest competitors, the guys ranked in the top five or ten in the world.


“Today I had practice sets with (Holger) Rune and yesterday I got to play with (Grigor) Dimitrov.


“It’s a fantastic chance for me to develop momentum and acquire that kind of play feeling on the court.”


Due to his limited court time this year, Djokovic is expected to be rusty going into the match after losing his practice set against Dimitrov on Tuesday.

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