World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has come to Paris hunting his 21st major and his 3rd Roland Garros title at the 2022 French Open. The Serbian is the defending champion at this year’s French Open and he has started in a similar fashion picking a rampant straight-set win in the first round.
Djokovic was up against Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round and won the match 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 in just under the 2-hour mark. During the match, however, one thing that got the attention was the celebrations of the Serb on winning points during the match which included loud roars and fist pumps on his chest during the first night session of the Grand Slam. The celebrations caught the eye of former British Pro Tim Henman who tried analysing the celebrations which led to Novak being booed.
“His performance was one thing, his ball striking, the consistency on serve, but I was surprised by his attitude, he was so pumped up. There was a lot of fist-pumping, the screaming and shouting out, for a first-round match at a Grand Slam, for someone who has won 20 of them, is that a reflection of what happened in Australia where he didn’t get the opportunity? This is his next opportunity to get to 21 and he is so pumped up.
“You saw from the word go he was so motivated, focused and fired up, ready to get the job done and that’s what he did. He is trending in the right direction. He is maybe a little bit underdone but getting the victory in Rome and to come here and make a little bit of a statement. Some of the other top players got off to good starts and Djokovic would have been aware of that, you saw all aspects of his game, his movement, his game, his touch, it really was a complete performance. He steamrolled Nishioka,” said Tim speaking on Eurosport.
Novak Djokovic wanted to prove he’s going to win the French Open says Mischa Zverev
Speaking about the incident was also German Pro Mischa Zverev, the elder brother of current World No. 3 Alexander Zverev. Mischa also shared the same opinion of Henman over the celebrations being a statement by Djokovic that he is well and truly back on the court.
“This is his first Grand Slam this year – he wanted to prove to everyone: I’m here, I won Rome, I’m playing well – and I’m going to win this. He wanted to send a message. In Monte Carlo, he really didn’t play well and lost early. Before the tournament, he had practised with Sascha [Zverev], and he really looked slower than usual. His strokes were also not so well placed. Normally, you don’t see the top players on the venue when they have lost, but he was on the grounds one or two days later on the last court at the back.
“Practising there and you could see, okay, he is hungry, he really wants to improve his game. He doesn’t care if there are other spectators if the quarter-finals or semi-finals are on. He is not part of it. It didn’t matter to him at all. He had one goal in mind: he had to improve. That took a few weeks now, but he won in Rome in the final against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas – that’s also quite a statement. He really is a player who knows his body and his game inside out like no other. He is like from another star,” said Mischa.
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