Novak Djokovic: 'If you drop your serve, it's not that big a deal as...'



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Novak Djokovic: 'If you drop your serve, it's not that big a deal as...'

The uncertainty about the possibility of a change in the top of the Pepperstone ATP Ranking from next week ended this Friday at the end of the day at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. If Novak Djokovic fell in the quarterfinals or earlier in Rome, he would lose No.1 with Daniil Medvedev.

However, the Serbian has been able to handle the pressure. He prevailed on Friday 7-5, 7-6(1) over Felix Auger-Aliassime to add his 13th place finish to a semi-final at the Foro Italico, and to secure his permanence at No.1, a fact that is evidenced in the new Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, and that will see the Serb reach 370 weeks at the top of men's tennis on Monday.

This result is a reward for the perseverance of the 34-year-old right-hander, who may have lost focus after blowing a 5-3 lead on serve… in both sets! Djokovic continued to battle against an inspired Auger-Aliassime who went from 5-7, 2-5 to force a tie-break in the second set.

And after two hours and nine minutes, 'Nole' was left with the victory that summons him on Saturday with the Norwegian Casper Ruud. "I think there was high-level tennis," Djokovic said after the match. “He asked me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well.

I think he could have finished the job sooner... but it was not so thanks to him for fighting back. Tonight there was also an amazing atmosphere”. “I know Felix well. He has been at the top of the men's game for quite a few years,” added Djokovic about the worthy opponent of him.

“He has a lethal serve, the truth... he is placing his services incredibly well, and it has not been easy for me to return them. He is also returning well, he is moving well. He is a very complete player”. After overcoming the eighth seed in the first round of the ATP Head2Head between the two, Djokovic will now look for a milestone in their duel on Saturday, as he fell one win short of his 1,000th career win.

Djokovic will play the 2022 French Open

There are many tournaments on the ATP circuit where Novak Djokovic has tasted success time and again. The Italian Open is certainly one of the tournaments at the very top of that list.

"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."