Andy Roddick details why he big concerns for Novak Djokovic heading into French Open

Roddick weighs in on Djokovic's French Open chances amid the Serb's struggles.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andy Roddick details why he big concerns for Novak Djokovic heading into French Open
© Getty Images Sport -Mike Hewitt

Andy Roddick has some major concerns for Novak Djokovic heading into the French Open as the American tennis icon thinks this is "the most question marks the Serb is facing going into a Grand Slam in 15 years."

Around this time in the year, record 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic usually already has a couple of titles in his collection and he is being widely regarded as one of the top favorites for the French Open title. But this year has brought something different as Djokovic is set to enter June without a title won in 2024. 

When it comes to his preparation for the French Open, it hasn't been ideal at all. After losing in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinal to Casper Ruud, Djokovic skipped the Madrid Masters to focus on practicing. But in his return to action at this week's Rome Masters, Djokovic won his opener before Alejandro Tabilo shockingly crushed him 6-2 6-3 in the Rome third round. 

This season, Djokovic is just 12-5 and he is set to enter the French Open with a 5-2 record on the surface in 2024. 

"Would it shock you if Novak had a rough draw (at the 2024 French Open) and struggled in the first couple of rounds? He is, better or worse, and I know everyone's going to yell at me and I can't wait for you guys to tell me I'm full of stuff and how much better he is than me, and I get it. I fully understand that," Roddick said on the Served with Andy Roddick podcast.

"There have never been more question marks about him in the last 15 years going into a Slam. Not if he can win, Iike, he could win. He could still win the tournament, but he is trying to find something on a tennis court right now for the first time in a long time. And if you disagree with that, your head is in the sand. Like, that's just denial."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Roddick surprised Djokovic didn't manage to improve before the French Open

After failing to lead Serbia to the United Cup title and losing to Alex de Minaur in the quarterfinal meeting between Serbia and Australia, Djokovic didn't look at his usual self at the Australian Open either but he was managing to find ways to win and ultimately make the semifinal. But in the Australian Open semifinal, Djokovic was completely outplayed by Jannik Sinner and lost in four sets.

Then, Djokovic took some time off to rest and recharge - but when he resumed action at the Indian Wells Masters - he shockingly lost to Luca Nardi in the third round in the desert. Djokovic then skipped the Miami Masters. 

Skipping Miami to give himself more time to prepare for the clay season didn't really work out for Djokovic as the Serb is just 5-2 on the dirt and he remains without a title. 

Although Djokovic didn't have great first three months of the season, the general expectation and belief was that the world No. 1 would look much better during the clay season because he was determined to improve and he had a long history of accomplishing in such tasks in the past. But that has not happened for Djokovic so far.

"This one was weird, I thought he’d ramp up. You’re looking at the French Open, at Wimbledon, he said he’s prioritized the Olympics, you felt like the ramp-up was coming, that wasn’t a ramp-up," Roddick said.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport -Dan Istitene

How Djokovic feels going into the French Open?

Following his loss to Tabilo, Djokovic blamed being hit by a metal water bottle in the head a match prior. When explaining that, Djokovic said that after the Corentin Moutet win and the water bottle hit he went "through half an hour, an hour of nausea, dizziness, blood, a lot of different things."

In his Rome presser, Djokovic was asked about his mindset going into the French Open. Responding to the question, Djokovic simply said: "Same like always (smiling)."

Moments after highlighting nothing was different in his mindset, Djokovic acknowledged he would need to improve drastically in order to have a shot at the French Open title. 

"Well, everything. Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it," Djokovic said when asked what needed to improve. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport -Clive Brunskill

Throughout his entire career, Djokovic has had success at Roland Garros as he is a seven-time French Open finalist and a three-time champion. Also, Djokovic five times lost in the French Open semifinal in the past. 

Djokovic may not be playing his right now but he has a history of finding his best level when the time comes for a Grand Slam tournament. 

Andy Roddick Novak Djokovic French Open