Novak Djokovic makes radical change in his calendar ahead of Paris

Novak Djokovic will enter the ATP 250 event in Geneva next week

by Jovica Ilic
SHARE
Novak Djokovic makes radical change in his calendar ahead of Paris
© Dan Istitene / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic took the ATP 250 Geneva event wild card, seeking more matches ahead of Roland Garros! The Serb has almost always skipped pre-Major events, but he decided to change that ahead of the title defense in Paris, playing only 17 matches in 2024 and winning no titles.

Thus, Novak joined Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz, Ben Shelton, Sebastian Baez and his old rival Andy Murray in Geneva, seeking his first ATP trophy since last year's ATP Finals. Djokovic has kept the ATP throne since the beginning of the season despite mediocre results by his standards, and he is hoping to change that in Paris and London in the upcoming weeks.

Novak competed at home in Belgrade in 2021 ahead of Roland Garros, winning the title at home and repeating that in Paris. Also, Djokovic competed in Eastbourne seven years ago, lifting the trophy but failing to repeat that at Wimbledon due to elbow issues.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Serb lost to Alex de Minaur at the United Cup and handed his Australian Open trophy to Jannik Sinner, who dethroned him in the semi-final following a rock-solid display.

Novak stayed away from the court in February and entered Indian Wells for the first time in five years. World no. 1 fell to the young Italian Luca Nardi in three sets, experiencing a setback and hoping for a better run in Monte Carlo.

Novak took down Roman Safiullin, Lorenzo Musetti and Alex de Minaur in straight sets, reaching the semi-final and facing Casper Ruud. The Norwegian overpowered the Serb 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, celebrating his first victory over Novak and advancing into the title clash.

Thanks to the second set, Djokovic grabbed 11 points more than Ruud. However, Casper claimed the crucial ones, allowing Novak to erase the deficit in the final set before moving over the top with a late break after a costly double fault from world no.

1.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic will play in Geneva next week.

Djokovic skipped Madrid and wished for a strong run in Rome, in what looked to be his final preparation for Roland Garros.

Novak defeated Corentin Moutet in the second round and arranged the duel versus Alejandro Tabilo. Seeking his 18th Rome Masters quarter-final, Djokovic suffered a massive 6-2, 6-3 loss in an hour and seven minutes, experiencing his worst result at Foro Italico.

Novak failed to win an ATP title by Rome only for the second time since 2007, and he will have another chance in Geneva next week. Tabilo outplayed Djokovic on serve and return, controlling the scoreboard and celebrating a career-best victory.

Novak landed in 52% of the first serve, struggling behind the second and getting broken four times. Alejandro dropped only ten points in his games, never facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side. Djokovic had 15 winners and 22 unforced errors, landing 16 service winners but losing the edge in the exchanges.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Dan Istitene / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alejandro tamed his strokes nicely and hit 22 winners and 15 unforced errors, attacking first and leaving Novak behind in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.

Djokovic made a slow start, like against Moutet, with no chance to fix it. Tabilo lost four points in his games and made a brilliant start that boosted him. World no. 1 played against four break points in the first game of the match, hitting a double fault on the last and falling behind.

The Chilean held at 15 in game two, confirming the advantage and making another push on the return in the next one. The lower-ranked player grabbed another break with a forehand down the line winner, forging a 3-0 advantage.

With everything working his way, Tabilo landed a forehand winner in the fourth game, producing another comfortable hold and extending the gap. A six-time champion held in game five before his rival painted another forehand winner in the next one for 5-1, forcing Novak to serve to stay in the set.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Dan Istitene / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic prolonged the set with a hold at love, reducing the deficit to 5-2. However, Tabilo mirrored that in game eight, landing a booming serve for 6-2 in 31 minutes.

Alejandro kept the same pace in the second set, serving well and pressuring Novak. World no. 1 lost four straight points in the first game of the second set, hitting a double fault and sending his opponent a set and a break in front.

Tabilo closed the second game with a forehand winner at the net and stayed in front with an unreturned serve in game four. Both players served well in those moments, and the Chilean delivered another fine hold in game eight for 5-3, forcing the Serb to serve to stay in the match.

Djokovic played a loose forehand and offered his rival a match point. Novak hit a double fault, ending his campaign in the worst way and suffering the fifth loss of the season. Djokovic will focus on Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the Olympic Games, setting his sights on notable titles and trying to save the season after a slow start.

Novak Djokovic
SHARE