World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said Madrid was a step in the positive direction as he is hoping to potentially meet his old rival Rafael Nadal in the Rome Masters semifinal. After struggling with his game in Monte Carlo and Belgrade, Djokovic seemingly played much better in Madrid even though he failed to win the title.
In Madrid, Djokovic reached the semifinal before losing to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz in three tight sets. "It was a step forward in the right direction. I raised the level and quality of my tennis in Madrid compared to Belgrade tournament and Monte Carlo, of course.
Physically I didn't feel my best up to Madrid," Djokovic told Tennis TV.
Djokovic happy with his Madrid camoaign
Djokovic lost a tight one as Alcaraz edged out the world No. 1 6-7 (5) 7-5 7-6 (5). "In Madrid, I was 100% even though I had a long and exhausting battle with Alcaraz that went for almost three and a half hours.
I was recovered pretty well the next day. I'm pleased about that. I thought I performed really well in all of my matches," the Serb said. Because Alcaraz beat Nadal in the Madrid quarterfinal, a Djokovic and Nadal meeting didn't happen.
This week, Djokovic and Nadal could potentially meet in the Rome semifinal. "It is always special. It always is. We've played so many years and so many matchups on this surface than any other surface," Djokovic said.
Djokovic has had success in Rome throughout his career as he has played 11 finals at the tournament. Djokovic is hoping to win his first title of the year this week and also earn a sixth Rome title. "I have played quite a few finals here in Rome," he said.
"It is my most successful claycourt tournament, without a doubt, for a reason as well. The relationship that I have with people here, speaking Italian language helps as well, connecting with people more."