Novak Djokovic: 'I wasn’t thinking about this but...'
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 8605
The World No.1 hasn't set foot in the Caja Mágica since he won his third Mutua Madrid Open crown in 2019. Many events have happened since then, but what has not changed is that Novak Djokovic has one of his key appointments at the Masters 1000 in the Spanish capital to reach Roland Garros in the best way.
The Serbian, one of the great attractions of the 20th anniversary edition player lineup, will enter the scene this Tuesday against Gael Monfils. The French tennis player beat the Spaniard Carlos Gimeno Valero, invited by the #MMOPEN organization, in two sets (6-3, 6-0).
The reigning champion in Paris has already set foot on European clay this year in the Monte Carlo and Belgrade tournaments, where he reached the final. “Playing in the final is a good result and I have to be positive about it, but physically I ran out of gas.
The good thing is that I managed to play four long matches, and I suppose that was what exhausted me in the end, ”Djokovic acknowledged. The Serbian is aware of the importance of his time in Madrid in the evolution of his game for his confidence.
“There are a lot of things to like about the way I hit the ball. Of course, it is not at the level that I would like. It's a process, and I have to be patient. I hope that things progress in the right direction this week too,” said the tennis player with twenty Grand Slam titles under his belt.
Djokovic also knows the importance of arriving mentally prepared to face the big events on the calendar in an optimal state of performance. “I feel like the more I play, the more comfortable I feel."
Djokovic has played in only four tournaments
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have had an intriguing tennis rivalry over the years.
The two faced off against each other for the first time at the French Open in 2006. Talking about how his chances are affected with Nadal being in his half of the draw, Djokovic said, “Of course, it affects, because he’s my greatest rival of all time.
You’re right. I mean, I wasn’t thinking about this, but we have not been in the same draw for a while. You know, things are changing. We have young players, and we are both trying to do our best to compete for the top spots of the world.
I think we are still going strong, so it’s nice to see that”. Further, Nadal and Djokovic have had contrasting 2022 seasons. While the Serb has played in only four tournaments, including the Madrid Open, Nadal has already clinched three titles this year.