Novak Djokovic won his first title of the season by beating the BNL Internationals of Italy for the sixth time in his career. The world number 1 did not leave a single set on the street at the Foro Italico, issuing a clear warning to his rivals just days before the start of Roland Garros.
The Serbian champion did not have an easy life at the beginning of 2022, especially thanks to his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus. In addition to not being able to defend the title at the Australian Open, the 34-year-old from Belgrade also had to miss the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion needed some time to find the right mechanisms, but he is now the big favorite in Paris. Nole will be called to defend the title he won last year, but he will have to pay close attention to Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal (foot permitting).
Guest in the latest edition of the 'Tennis Talk' podcast, Nick Lester analyzed the progress made by Djokovic in recent weeks.
Lester reflects on Nole Djokovic
"Novak Djokovic played three or four matches (Belgrade Open), all of them going three sets, that really gave him a foundation to work with, he got better in Madrid, and this week didn't drop a set on the way, I think this is the 11th time that he has won a Masters without dropping a set," Lester said.
"So, you know, the couple of elements that were really good, the return of serve is back to where he was, the depth that he is getting in the return of serve completely neutralizes what Tsitsipas did today. So, Djokovic in a very good place now going into Roland Garros," he added.
The World No. 1 often peaks at the Italian Open, coming into the French Open, as evidenced by his six titles in the tournament. Lester said: "Massive week for him, absolutely massive. How often he finds his mojo in Rome, I mean, if you look back through the years, coming into the French, he tends to start the clay court season a little slow, Monte Carlo has not been his most successful venue and of course this year coming in under a very different set of circumstances," Lester stated.
After having a low start to the year, Novak Djokovic finally won his first title of 2022 yesterday at the Italian Open. The Serbian outplayed Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas in an interesting yet one-sided battle. Even though Djokovic is not new to winning titles, he feels that the win in Rome is a relief for him considering the rough start to his season.