Djokovic feels upswing as French defense nears

Tennis

MADRID — Novak Djokovic is optimistic about his sport going into the French Open regardless of going one other week with no title.

The highest-ranked Djokovic has but to win a trophy this season whereas making an attempt to regain his greatest kind after not being allowed to play within the Australian Open as a result of he was not vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic misplaced to younger sensation Carlos Alcaraz in three units within the semifinals of the Madrid Open on Saturday, when he was making an attempt to make it to his second consecutive remaining after dropping to Andrey Rublev in Serbia final month.

Regardless of the loss, Djokovic mentioned he leaves Madrid feeling good about his preparations for the upcoming French Open, the place he’ll defend his title.

“I positively performed superb tennis, I imply, the most effective that I’ve performed this yr,” Djokovic mentioned. “Most likely when the frustration of dropping this match passes, I’ll have a number of positives to remove from this week.”

Djokovic mentioned he felt he might have come away with the victory in opposition to the 19-year-old Alcaraz — one the most popular gamers on tour this season — if he had been “in a position to capitalize when it mattered” throughout the match of greater than 3½ hours on the Caja Mágica middle courtroom.

“I had a number of probabilities,” Djokovic mentioned. “It was a unbelievable match. Nice battle.”

The Madrid Open was solely his fourth event of the yr and third on clay. He misplaced to Twenty ninth-ranked Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match in Monte Carlo in his solely different Masters 1000 look up to now.

Djokovic didn’t play in Indian Wells and Miami. He’ll carry an 8-4 document on the season into Rome this week, with a type of victories coming after Andy Murray withdrew from their third-round match in Madrid due to a abdomen sickness.

Djokovic opened his marketing campaign within the Spanish capital with a two-set win over Gael Monfils. He comfortably defeated Hubert Hurkacz in two units within the quarterfinals.

The 34-year-old Djokovic mentioned after the match in opposition to Monfils it was “his greatest efficiency of the yr” contemplating he hadn’t performed properly and lacked rhythm within the few tournaments he had performed.

Djokovic reached the quarterfinals in the one different event he performed this yr, dropping to 72nd-ranked Jiri Vesely in Dubai in February.

The aim now could be making ready to do properly in Roland Garros, the place Djokovic will attempt to win his third French Open.

“I feel it is on the nice path, positively,” he mentioned.

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