The third and final Major of the season started on Sunday in Paris, with 128 players competing for the trophy at gray and cold Roland Garros. Followed by the cold weather, rain and wind, almost all matches finished as planned, but there will be more challenges for the organizers in the upcoming days, as the weather forecast doesn't look promising.
World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is among the title favorites with Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, seeking the 18th Major crown and the first in Paris in four years. Speaking about the new Wilson balls, which are in use for the first time in Paris, Novak said they all have to accept them as they are, confirming they are a bit heavier due to Paris's conditions.
Djokovic should have the advantage over Nadal and Thiem under the roof of Court Philippe-Chatrier. Still, we are miles away from the semi-final and final encounters, with uncharted water for all the players at the moment. Novak has been the one to watch in 2020, winning 31 of 32 matches and suffering no regular defeats.
Novak Djokovic says Wilson balls are heavier, but the players have to accept that.
Losing the year-end no. 1 spot and the Davis Cup Finals last November, Djokovic was ready to fight stronger at the beginning of the new season.
In January, he led Serbia towards the ATP Cup and earned enough points to challenge Rafael Nadal's ATP throne at the Australian Open. Nadal lost in the quarter-final in Melbourne while Djokovic went all the way to lift the eighth Australian Open title and world no.
1 spot. Novak closed the first part of the season with the Dubai title, spending the next couple of months in Marbella and Belgrade due to the coronavirus. After the restart, Novak conquered Cincinnati, chasing a Major crown on the same courts at the US Open complex.
In the fourth round, the Serb got defaulted against Pablo Carreno Busta, bouncing back immediately to claim the crown in Rome a week later, hoping for the same in Paris. In the first round, Novak will face the young Swede Mikael Ymer.
"This is the first time we have used Wilson balls on clay. Like my teammates, I feel the ball is heavier, but it is also because we are in October, and it is very cold. The clay is heavy and wet, and all external conditions affect the ball.
It is difficult to say that the ball is heavy in general since weather conditions cause everything. We have to accept it, that's why we all came a little earlier to start getting used to all these new conditions that will take place at this peculiar Roland Garros," said Novak Djokovic.