“Traces of illness”- Novak Djokovic drops truth bomb over his ‘fitness issues’ after winning the Italian Open

In his post-match press conference, the Serb labelled himself as "one of the favourites" to win the French Open this year.

Novak Djokovic | Tennis News | FirstSportz
Novak Djokovic

If there were any worries about Novak Djokovic’s form as the French Open approaches, he has meticulously addressed them with his racquet during the past week. Djokovic beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6 in the Italian Open final on Sunday (5). Even in his post-match press conference, the Serb said that he believes “he is one of the favourites” to win the French Open this year.

Djokovic has now won 38 Masters 1000 championships and six Italian Open titles in 12 finals after claiming his 1,000th career victory on Saturday. After rarely playing in the first three months of the year and getting deported from Australia due to his refusal to take a Covid vaccination, it was his first title since the Paris Masters in November. In Rome, Djokovic upset top-10 players in three consecutive matches, including Tsitsipas, who is ranked fifth.

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“I would rate myself as one of the favourites”- Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic | Tennis News | FirstSportz
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic started off hot, serving effectively, striking deep returns repeatedly, and dictating the bulk of exchanges as he timed his forehand beautifully and refused to give up any free points. Despite winning more matches and points than any other player on clay this year, Tsitsipas struggled. However, after surrendering the first set with little opposition, the Greek began the second set with superior serving and the rest of his game followed, as he broke serve and took a 5-2 lead. Djokovic’s quick retort demonstrated his restored confidence and trust in his game. He broke back and then narrowly edged ahead in the tie-break before seeing out his first match point after neutralising Tsitsipas’ serve, serving brilliantly and rising to the tight moments.

With the significant absence of Carlos Alcaraz in Rome and the uncertainty surrounding Rafael Nadal’s foot, there are even more potential meetings ahead. Djokovic’s stamina in the upcoming best-of-five-set matchups has also been called into question. But what is evident from this week in Rome is that Djokovic has gradually brushed away the cobwebs in his game and is peaking at the ideal time. Djokovic will now attempt to achieve one of his career’s few remaining firsts: defending his French Open championship for the first time.

Even in his post-match press conference, the Serb labelled himself as “one of the favourites” to win the French Open this year. In his words, “To some extent it’s a relief because, after everything that happened at the beginning of the year, it was important for me to win a big title, especially with Grand Slams coming up.”

“I didn’t have any fitness issues. It was just those traces of the illness that I had. Right now I feel perfect. I would rate myself as one of the favourites (at Roland Garros). I go there with the highest ambitions, particularly of the way played here. I really like my chances, “ the World No.1 added shortly.

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