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Djokovic: Bring It In Best-of-Five

By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Broken in his opening service game of the first and last sets, Novak Djokovic was playing catch-up all day against Holger Rune.

The 20-year-old Dane dethroned defending Rome champion Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the Rome semifinals in his tournament debut.

More: Rune Dethrones Defending Champion Djokovic in Rome

World No. 1 Djokovic credited Rune for a well-deserved win—then issued a defiant vow for Paris.

Bring it in best-of-five at Roland Garros.

Tennis Express

The 22-time Grand Slam champion says he's confident going five against any opponent on any surface.

"I know I can always play better," Djokovic told the media in Rome. "Definitely am looking forward to working on various aspects of my game, of my body, hopefully getting myself in 100% shape. That's the goal.

"I always like my chances in Grand Slams against anybody on any surface, best-of-five. Let's see how it goes."

While red-clay rust and a soggy, choppy court did not help Djokovic's cause today, the truth is Rune outplayed the top seed. Rune converted five of 10 break points and committed 20 fewer unforced errors beating Djokovic for the second time in a row following his Paris Masters final victory last November.

Still, Djokovic has been commanding going the distance.

The Wimbledon winner owns an outstanding 37-10 career record in five setters.

Asked if he views this Roland Garros as the most wide-open in years, Djokovic said it depends on one man: 14-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal. King of clay Nadal has not played a match since falling to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open last January.

"It depends if Nadal plays or not," Djokovic said. "But next to him of course Alcaraz, Rune, these guys are right there in the contention, some of the biggest favorites to win the title."

Photo credit: Srpska Open Facebook