Novak Djokovic: 'If you can weather the first storm, then you...'



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Novak Djokovic: 'If you can weather the first storm, then you...'

Novak Djokovic made his Rome Masters debut in his first notable season in 2007. The young Serb beat Marcos Baghdatis and Robin Soderling before falling to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. A year later, Novak won the Foro Italico title, starting an incredible career that has brought him five trophies so far in the Italian capital.

Djokovic is fighting for sixth this week, beating three rivals to enter the semi-finals and facing Casper Ruud in Saturday's clash for a place in the final. Novak came into Rome with 59 wins in this event, becoming only the third player with 60 wins in a single Masters 1000 tournament.

That record was reserved for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and Novak has joined his great rivals on the list after clearing the first hurdle in the Italian capital. Nadal has won 73 matches in Monte Carlo and 69 in Rome, while Federer has 66 in Indian Wells.

Djokovic has now entered the exclusive 'Club 60' and will try to celebrate the feat with the sixth title. Novak defeated Rafa in the 2011 Rome final before losing the final against the Spaniard a year later.

Djokovic won 20 Grand Slam titles

There are many tournaments on the ATP circuit where Novak Djokovic has tasted success time and again.

"It is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, no doubt. Of course, every time I get the chance to fight for a trophy there, it is always a thrill. I always had a lot of support in Rome. Center Court - one of the most stunning centre courts in the tennis world," he added.

"That kind of surface where it's unpredictable. It's that kind of surface where if you drop your serve, it's not that big a deal as dropping your serve on a fast hard court. He (Rafa) always comes very h*t off the blocks," Djokovic said.

"Most of his matches, particularly on clay, he gets an early break and just brings so much intensity to the court. Just full top-spins right from the start. It's hard to deal with those balls, it takes a little bit of time to adapt and to adjust to it.

If you can weather the first storm, then you might have a chance to win it," he added. "You know you're going to have a lot of breaks of serve if you're playing Nadal. I wasn't too concerned about that..I liked my chances."