Novak Djokovic returns to action this afternoon for the first time since his disqualification from the US Open for striking a line judge with a stray ball. The Serbian is aiming to win the first clay tournament of the season in Rome but he faces a tough field.
Djokovic missed a glorious opportunity to win Grand Slam number 18 in New York, where he was the clear favourite.
That would have taken him to within two trophies of Roger Federer’s all-time major tournament record.
The world No 1 gets another chance to pull closer to his Swiss rival when the rescheduled French Open gets underway on September 28.
And Djokovic reiterated his desire to build momentum at the Italian Open for a strong campaign at Roland Garros.
“This is one of my two biggest professional goals,” Djokovic said.
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The Spaniard opted against traveling to the States for the US Open because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And Djokovic feels that could give the world No 2 an advantage over the coming weeks – not that he needs it.
“Rafa decided to stay on clay and practice and surely that gives him more advantage,” Djokovic explained.
“Even if it didn’t practice for that long on clay he would still be the No 1 favourite at Roland Garros or any clay tournament because he is Rafa.
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“Playing on clay, he is the ultimate challenge.
“For most of the other guys it is going to be an adjustment challenge. How quickly can we adapt and adjust to this surface? Let’s see.
“I did have three or four days of training before my first match. I think it is sufficient but let’s see on the court.”
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