Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button Follow Me on Pinterest
NewsVideosLive ScoresTV ListingsTournamentsRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastMagazine

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday May 17, 2020

Novak Djokovic fell at the last hurdle at Rome, falling to Rafael Nadal in three sets (7-5, 6-1, 3-6) in Sunday’s final, but thanks to an inspiring weekend at the Foro Italico, the World No.1 believes he has significantly raised his chances of winning Roland Garros.

Tennis Express

“Of course I'm disappointed not to win it, but at the same time I'm very pleased with the level of tennis that I managed to find in the later stages of this tournament,” he told Tennis Now during a Zoom press conference after the final. “Going into Paris brings me good sensation. I actually now started to feel like I actually want to feel on clay. So I think if I manage to play the way I played last night and today, I think I have a good chance to go all the way in Paris. Of course it's a long shot, but I'm gonna play, you know, a tournament in Belgrade the week before French Open, so that's going to give me another set of matches. Don't know how many but hopefully can have a few coming into Paris ready to rock 'n roll.”

Djokovic had entered Rome in search of his form on clay. After splitting two matches in Monte-Carlo (loss to Dan Evans), he had fallen in the semifinals at Belgrade (to Aslan Karatsev).

Last weekend, in his pre-tournament press conference, he told reporters that he was still searching for his game on the clay.

“I'm building my fitness and I'm building just my game slowly step by step in order to peak in Paris,” he said. “That's definitely where I want to play my best.”

After rallying for a meaningful victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday (4-6, 7-5, 7-5), the World No.1 then battled past Lorenzo Sonego in a spirited semifinal.

After nearly five hours on court he still played extremely well against Nadal, pushing the King of Clay to three sets. The result is a more confident Djokovic that believes he has made great strides at Rome.

“I'm very pleased with my fighting spirit,” he said on Sunday. “The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually. Yesterday I played great. Today I thought I also played a high level. Unfortunately decisive moments in the first and third set, you know, just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate.”

Next stop, Belgrade, where the Serb will compete in the Belgrade Open from May 22-29. He will likely get a few more matches on clay on home soil, but after his successful run in Rome this week, he is already where he needs to be.

“Last couple days really gave me the confidence boost for the clay,” he said. “I found the game. So now I just have to maintain it, that level, and peak in Paris.”


Latest News