Unlike the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic will have a chance to defend the Roland Garros crown in May and June. The 20-time Major winner had to skip the season's first Major in Melbourne after losing the legal battle with the Australian authorities.
The Serb has played only one tournament so far in 2022, losing the ATP throne to Daniil Medvedev but regaining it next Monday. Novak will enter Monte Carlo and Belgrade in April, and he should compete in Madrid and Rome in May ahead of Roland Garros, where he claimed the 19th Major title last year.
A few days ago, the French government suspended the Covid vaccine pass rules, and unvaccinated individuals can enter France. In February, the Serb kicked off the season in Dubai, beating Lorenzo Musetti and Karen Khachanov before falling to Jiri Vesely in two tight sets in the quarters.
Novak survived three challenging encounters at the last year's Roland Garros to secure the first Parisian crown since 2016 and become the first player in the Open era with two crowns at all four Majors! Djokovic lost the opening two sets against the young Italian Lorenzo Musetti before destroying him in the rest of the clash to avoid an early setback.
In the semis, Novak scored his second victory over Rafa on Court Philippe-Chatrier, avenging the 2020 final loss and dethroning the 13-time champion to find himself in the title clash. The Serb scored the 30th victory over the Spaniard, prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 after grueling four hours and 11 minutes.
Djokovic had lost the previous five clay-court clashes to Nadal, and he changed that with 50 winners and 37 unforced errors on his tally. Novak broke Rafa eight times and grabbed the crucial points in set number three to emerge at the top and advance into the final.
Novak Djokovic gets green light to play Roland Garros.
The Spaniard generated a 5-0 lead in the opener and claimed it 6-3. Novak found his strokes in the meanwhile and won the second set to get back into contention. From 5-3 down in the third set, Nadal climbed back to 5-5 and created a set point in the 12th game that could have been crucial had he converted it.
Novak saved it and gathered momentum ahead of the tie break, clinching it 7-4 and gaining a massive boost. Struggling with a foot injury, Rafa had nothing left in the tank in the fourth set, losing it 6-2 and propelling Novak into the final.
Chasing the second Roland Garros crown, Djokovic came from two sets to love down versus Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the 19th Major trophy and write history books. "As things stand, nothing stands in the way of Djokovic taking part in the French Open.
Our goal is to have the best possible entry list," tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said. "We have learned to be extremely careful. We see that from month to month, things can change. In a difficult scenario, there will always be a way to reintroduce the health bubbles," FFT director general Amelie Oudea-Castera said.