The number one leaves the Principality confident: he has already won twice here. But also think of Roland Garros: “To be at the top of the ranking, what pride”
Hordes of children swarm after him to snatch a selfie, an autograph, or even just a brief wave of hello. Novak Djokovic is back and from the enthusiasm he was greeted with, it looks like he never left. Certainly not from Montecarlo, as the Country Club is one of his favorite haunts, the club where he trained out of season, arriving by bike from the nearby Monegasque home.
The world number one has not played a match since February 24, when he was eliminated by Vesely in the quarter-finals of Dubai, the first and only tournament of the year of his course, strongly influenced by the vicissitudes Australians and by positions contrary to the obligation of vaccination. This means that Nole is coming to the Principality’s Masters 1000, won twice (in 2013 and 2015), with only three games on his shoulders: “It means that here I will aim to play all six… The last 5 months have obviously been very difficult, especially from a psychological point of view, and I don’t expect to be super competitive in the first days of the tournament, but I am confident that I will regain my condition as the games go by.” However, the situation has changed since January, and decidedly in his favor, and not only because of the easing of restrictions in many countries around the world: he feared to pay a heavy bill in the rankings for repeated absences from tournaments, and instead, his main challengers for number one, Medvedev and Nadal, are in the pits and will be there for a long time, although for now Rafa can console himself with the Grand Slam record obtained in Australia: “Becoming number one – says Djokovic – is the maximum goal for a player, the goal of a lifetime. I am very proud to start the 365 week at the top, but the important thing now is to get back to facing others. Despite the injuries, he there are many other great players and finding them will motivate me to try to improve quickly. The end goal is Roland Garros, I am the defending champion, but in the meantime I aim to do well in all tournaments. approach, the earth is the s surface on which I grew up and although I may have taken more satisfaction on other surfaces, I am happy to start again from here.
As for the secrets to metabolizing the most difficult period of his career, Novak bets on character: “I am an optimistic person, I try to see the positive side of all things. First of all, I tried to live my life from day to day without looking too far, devoting myself to the things that could make me feel good. Now that I can return to play a tournament, obviously my routine has helped me, with training, athletic preparation and everything related to the field. Of course, the goal is to transform all the energies I have invested in recent months into a propellant for the future”. Speaking of training, the world number one has chosen an exceptional sparring player, Jannik Sinner, in recent days: “His separation from Piatti really surprised me, together they had done an exceptional job and Sinner reached the top ten, but obviously I’m not in his head to be able to comment on a choice that we didn’t talk about and the details of which I do not know”. Nole then found himself for once on the same side of the tennis institutions: “I am in favor of the super tie break in the decisive set and especially the fact that all the Grand Slams have applied the same rule”.
April 10 – 5:25 p.m.
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