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Another Rome success boosts Djokovic’s hopes ahead of French Open

Novak Djokovic sealed his sixth Italian Open title with a 6-0 7-5 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday and insisted he could not have asked for a better lead up to Roland Garros.

Rome, 16 May 2022 (PA Media/dpa/MIA) — Novak Djokovic sealed his sixth Italian Open title with a 6-0 7-5 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday and insisted he could not have asked for a better lead up to Roland Garros.

The Serbian has endured a tumultuous 2022, being deported from Australia in January to miss the first grand slam of the year before his decision to remain unvaccinated contributed towards a number of tournaments being skipped due to entry restrictions imposed by various countries.

Most nations are now relaxing rules and Djokovic will resume his quest for major number 21 later this month when he competes in the French Open and he will head there in form after a successful week in Rome, where he failed to drop a set.

15 May 2022, Italy, Rome: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic in action against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during their men’s singles final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament. Photo: Fabrizio Corradetti/LPS via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

“To some extent it’s a relief because after everything that happened at the beginning of the year, it was important for me to win a big title, especially with Grand Slams coming up where obviously I want to play my best,” the world number one told a press conference.

“I could not ask for a better lead-up to Roland Garros really. Serbian Open finals, really working my way through the tournament physically.

“Then Madrid (Open), better performances, but still maybe not as sharp in those decisive moments. And here everything kind of came together and clicked.

“I’m going to Paris with definitely confidence and good feelings about my chances there.”

Djokovic’s failure to compete at the Australia Open and the subsequent furore which followed Down Under made headlines across the globe.

15 May 2022, Italy, Rome: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after defeating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during their men’s singles final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament. Photo: Fabrizio Corradetti/LPS via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

The 20-time grand slam champion is eager to draw a line under the whole saga ahead of this month’s French Open.

Speaking after his one hour and 37 minute battle with Tsitsipas, Djokovic added: “It’s something that I never faced before, so that amount of pressure and everything that I was feeling in the first few months of the year, as much as I’ve felt pressure in my life and my career, that was something really on a whole different level.

“But I feel it’s already behind me. I feel great on the court. Mentally as well. I’m fresh. I’m sharp. Yeah, it’s just something that happened in the past.”

After producing a vintage opening set in Rome, Djokovic was 5-2 down in the second before he roared back to triumph and become the oldest Italian Open winner at the age of 34.

15 May 2022, Italy, Rome: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (L) celebrates with the trophy after defeating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (R) during their men’s singles final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament. Photo: Fabrizio Corradetti/LPS via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

It proved to be a family double after Djokovic’s seven-year-old son also won his first tournament on Sunday.

“Well, the journey started successful. My son won the tournament today. I just received that news. A sunshine double today,” the Italian Open winner revealed.

“If he wants to embark on this journey, I guess I have to embark with him, too. Of course, I’ll be thrilled if he plays tennis.”

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