2022 is not turning out to be particularly good for Novak Djokovic. The World number 1 was unable to defend his title at the Australian Open due to the well-known vaccination issue, which also caused him serious damage to his image.
The Serbian phenomenon was considered the favorite for the victory at Roland Garros, especially after having triumphed at the BNL Internationals of Italy without losing a single set. His run in Paris ended in the quarterfinals against his eternal rival Rafael Nadal, who took advantage of the dull day of the 35-year-old from Belgrade.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion paid dearly for a subdued start and numerous ups and downs during the challenge, as Nole himself admitted at the press conference. Djokovic has only Wimbledon left to further enrich his showcase, since he will hardly be able to fly to New York to play the US Open.
In a long conversation on the Tennis Channel, Jimmy Arias analyzed in detail the big match between Novak and Rafa that took place in Paris.
Jimmy Arias talks about Djokovic
"I didn't think Rafael Nadal would right the ship after the second set [against Novak Djokovic].
Novak won Rome and it was like Djokovic is Djokovic again and [has put] all that controversy behind and is ready to be dominating again after that," Arias said. "We were a little worried about Nadal because of the foot problem, but as soon as I saw a match or two of Nadal, I thought, 'Okay, wow'"
The former World No. 5 once again brought up the pressure that was on the Serb to catch up with Nadal in the Slam race, which was a contributing factor to his defeat in Arais' opinion. "But I did think Nadal was going to win that match after I saw that he was physically very good because there was this weird pressure on Djokovic that he had to catch Nadal [in the Slam race]," Arias said.
"He had the chance at the US Open last year to break away from the pack and be the GOAT. Nadal has done a better job of not having those thoughts. I feel like he plays each match to play that match and there is no other outside influence and that's helpful in those huge moments."
The Serb was due to defend 2000 ranking points that he had won last year owing to his title victory. However, with his quarter-final exit, he’ll earn only 360 ranking points from the tournament this season. As a result, Djokovic will lose a major chunk of the points he won last season.