May 21, 2024

Former world No 1 Andy Roddick has admitted he is “shocked” Novak Djokovic decided to play the Geneva Open the week before the 2024 French Open.


The 2003 US Open champion believes Djokovic has made the “right move”, though, as he feels the great Serbian needs match practice going into Roland Garros.


Djokovic will make his debut appearance at the ATP 250 tournament in Geneva this week ahead of the 2024 French Open, which will begin on Sunday. The 24-time Major winner will face either Yannick Hanfmann or Andy Murray in his opening match.


The world No 1 is yet to reach a final this year and holds a 12-5 record in a challenging 2024 season to date. Djokovic slumped to a 2-6, 3-6 loss to Alejandro Tabilo in just an hour and seven minutes in the third round of the Italian Open.


The 36-year-old, who opted to skip the Madrid Open, has played just six matches during his clay-court campaign so far across Monte Carlo and Rome.


Djokovic last played a tournament the week before the French Open in 2021 and it proved to be a fruitful decision. The Serbian won the Belgrade Open ATP 250 event before going on to claim the second of his three Roland Garros crowns.


Read More: Novak Djokovic makes ‘weird’ decision ahead of French Open – could it backfire?


On the Tennis Channel Live podcast, Roddick expressed his surprise at Djokovic’s decision to play in Geneva, but gave the move his backing.


“I like the move and I’m also shocked by it,” Roddick said. “You know, it’s strange because he has been so confident just entering the biggest tournaments in the world without a lot of prep work, right?


“He’s made a habit of that and been successful at it over the last three or four years. So, it definitely proves the point that we’ve been beating home all week that if something is different, you need matches — even the best of all time.


“Sometimes you need some reps and some real reps, right? You can feel great in practice, you can’t mimic that. So I think it’s the right move. And hey, I’m sure I’m sure the Geneva Open is pretty pumped about getting him for free.”


The American then gave his thoughts on the strength of the Geneva draw, which also features Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz and Ben Shelton.


“It’s interesting, Casper is a little more understandable because he hasn’t played great in Madrid or Rome, took some early losses,” he assessed.


“Taylor Fritz is like allergic to rest. It’s like he’s allergic to weeks off. I don’t fully understand it, but I also don’t really know Taylor. Obviously he likes to play, match reps going in…


“Normally these 250s the week before a Slam, you don’t get a top shelf like this, you don’t get the top four seeds all in the top 12 or 13 in the world.


“This is a good showout for Geneva. I was surprised by Novak, I’m surprised Taylor would continue to go. Less surprised by Ruud and Shelton.”


During a recent episode of the Served with Andy Roddick podcast, Roddick weighed in on Djokovic’s struggles in 2024 after his loss to Tabilo.


“I’m more concerned about his tennis game than I’ve been in probably like, 15 years,” said the 32-time ATP titlist.


“Knowing that, maybe he just needs a bunch of us saying that, you know, the kind of ‘me against the world’ mentality that he’s mastered over the course of his career. But how long can we say, ‘He’ll turn it around’? I’ve been saying that the entire year.


“This one was weird, I thought he’d ramp up. You’re looking at the French Open, at Wimbledon, he said he’s prioritised the Olympics, you felt like the ramp-up was coming. That wasn’t a ramp-up.”


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