Novak Djokovic can rise again at the Roland Garros

The Serbian champion could play Geneva before Paris, but will it be enough to recover his psychophysical shape in time?

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Novak Djokovic can rise again at the Roland Garros
© Clive Mason / Staff Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic will officially play the Roland Garros to defend the title won last year. And to best approach the Parisian Slam, the Serbian champion could take to the court at the ATP 250 tournament in Geneva, which will take place exactly one week before Paris. Nole does not arrive at this very important event in the best psycho-physical conditions. His season so far has been full of problems and, lastly, during the Parisian Major, Novak could be overtaken in the ATP ranking by Jannik Sinner.

"I was completely out of my mind. Defeat also linked to the water bottle? I don't know. Yesterday I did a good workout and I didn't feel anything, but I didn't even feel the same sensations as before. Today, under stress, it was quite bad: not in terms of pain but of balance. I had no coordination whatsoever and I was a completely different player than I was two nights ago. I will have to do some medical checks and we will see what is happening. I didn't do any tests after the blow I received with the water bottle. At the moment I feel like I should do it though."

This is how Djokovic commented on the unexpected defeat against Alejandro Tabilo at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. In the last press conference, Nole appeared worried after the blow he received to the head last Friday. However, the tests carried out in the last few hours have averted any type of problem.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport -Dan Istitene
 

"Following the clinical examinations carried out, no anomalies were found. There are no consequences for the accident involving the head," wrote the Serbian press.

Now, Djokovic will also be able to play Geneva, but will he be able to rediscover his psychophysical brilliance before the start of (or during) the Roland Garros? The Serbian star, as mentioned, has come from very difficult months, culminating in early eliminations from tournaments and the end of his professional relationship with Goran Ivanisevic and part of his team. The Roland Garros, however, could be the ideal habitat for him to resurrect. For several reasons. Competition is at an all-time low. Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are at the races with injuries and their presence in Paris is not certain. And even if they were, their physical condition should be monitored.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport -Mike Hewitt
 

Daniil Medvedev is not comfortable on clay courts. Stefanos Tsitsipas is in form, but the unexpected elimination in the 4th round of the Italian Open still speaks clearly about his discontinuity. Rafael Nadal doesn't seem to be a real threat to Djokovic in Paris (but it's still Ndaal, so never say never with the Spaniard!). Nole is the strongest tennis player of this generation or clay-courts, behind Rafael Nadal. His history at Roland Garros is glorious and, on the courts of Bois de Boulogne, Djokovic has expressed some of the best performances of his career. That's why, the right time to be able to resurrect is a favorable moment for him, especially because his opponents are not in a position to face him. But will Nole have time to recover before Paris?

And motivation will also be essential for Djokovic to try to win his 25th Slam and his 4th French Open. Ivanisevic granted an interview to Blick, in which he explained their relationship and how high the pressure is for those who are forced to always win.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt
 

"When you coach Novak Djokovic, anything less than winning a title is a failure in any tournament. There is a lot of pressure, Novak is very demanding, he always wants to improve. And if you can't handle it, you might as well not take the job. The language helped me a lot, there were no barriers between us. With Novak you only have a few seconds to explain something to him, he wants to know fifteen things at a time, but you only have three seconds to do it. So you have to try to summarize everything. It can be difficult, but I had fun with Novak. It's very difficult to highlight his weaknesses: is it a weakness if he misses a shot after 25 shots? But that's what we did, we worked a lot on his serve, especially the second serve.

We also worked on his positional play at the net and his volleys. At this high level, it's all about the details. It's the same for all the best players, yet they are all different. Federer has always seemed completely relaxed during training, while Nadal trains so intensely that he seems to be chased by 300 lions. It happened over and over again. Then he would yell at me again and everyone could see it. Sometimes I could understand it well, sometimes not. Maybe he wanted to know something about the service and I said something about clouds. Then Novak would get angry with me, but at least it was about me. After five minutes he calmed down again, he was able to let off steam and play freely. Sometimes in tennis you need a little shock to reset your head. I believe the mental component is the most important factor in this sport," he explained.

Novak Djokovic Roland Garros
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