"One of us, I love you Rome" Novak Djokovic leaves a message of affection for the Forum audience on the camera lens. Especially for two fans in particular. “They had come here to see me even ten years ago. They were small, now they are big and they always sing 'One of us' I saw them again now that they are men, this is the beautiful story that I have of affection with the Italian public”.
In the Forum, Djokovic has always done well. He played for sixteen years in a row, including this one, and never lost before the quarterfinals. He has won five titles and played in six more finals. He debuted in this edition of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with an authoritative 6-3 6-2 victory over Russian Aslan Karatsev who won just three of the 14 matches played after the Australian Open.
In the next round he will challenge Serbian Laslo Djere or Swiss Stan Wawrinka who beat him in two Grand Slam finals. "The public is very important to me," he said, "although I didn't have much support in many tournaments.
Here in Rome, on the other hand, I have always felt it. It is no coincidence that I call it my second home”. On the eve of Djokovic he was very satisfied with the level of his game, after the marathon lost to Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid.
And he never gave the Russian who defeated him in the semifinals in Belgrade last year, saving 23 break points, a chance to get back in the game. "To beat him, you have to be 200%," Karatsev said at the time.
Djokovic defeated Aslan Karatsev in Rome
1 Novak Djokovic spoke out against the organizers of the Madrid Open for scheduling a late-night semifinal on Saturday ahead of Sunday's final. "You can't finish your semifinal match at 1:00 AM and play the final the next day.
I understand that they want to sell more tickets by scheduling a late night session on Saturday, but that can cause problems," Djokovic said. During his press conference, Djokovic stressed that tournament organizers should ideally speak to players regarding scheduling and revealed that he had attempted to sort out the issue when he was president of the ATP Players' Council.
"The organizers should talk to the players before making these kinds of decisions," the World No. 1 said. "When I was the president of the Players' Council several years ago, I tried to solve this problem. But still, nothing changed."