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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Djokovic playing his ‘best’ tennis ahead of French Open

MADRID ( Associated Press) – Novak Djokovic remains optimistic about his game going into the French Open despite going without a title for another week.

Top-ranked Djokovic has yet to win a trophy this season while trying to regain his best form after being denied permission to play at the Australian Open because he was not vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic lost in three sets to youth sensation Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open on Saturday when he was trying to make it to a second successive final after losing to Andrey Rublev in Serbia last month.

Despite the loss, Djokovic said he leaves Madrid feeling good about his preparations for the upcoming French Open, where he will defend his title.

“I definitely played great tennis, I mean the best tennis I’ve played this year,” Djokovic said. “Maybe when the disappointment of losing this match is over, I will have a lot of positives from this week.”

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Djokovic said he thought he could have come away with a win against the 19-year-old Alcaraz – the hottest player on the Tour this season – if he capitalized on “when it matters” during a 3 to 1 match. would have been able to. /2 hours at “Caza Magica” Center Court.

“I had a lot of opportunities,” he said. “It was a great match. Great fight.”

The Madrid Open was only his fourth tournament of the year, and his third on clay. He lost to 29th-ranked Alejandro Davydovich Focina in his first match at Monte Carlo, his only Masters 1000 appearance to date.

Djokovic did not play at Indian Wells and Miami. He will hold an 8-4 record on the season in Rome this week, including a win when Andy Murray withdrew from his third-round match in Madrid due to a stomach ailment.

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Djokovic started his campaign in the Spanish capital with a two-set win over Gael Monfils. He comfortably defeated Hubert Herkaz in the quarterfinals in two sets.

Djokovic, 34, said after the match against Monfils that it was “his best performance of the year”, noting that he had not played well and that the few tournaments he played had lacked rhythm.

Djokovic had reached the quarter-finals in the only other tournament he played this year, losing to 72nd-ranked Jiri Wesley in Dubai in February.

Lakshya is now preparing to do well at Roland Garros, where he will look to win his third French Open.

“I think it’s on a good track, for sure,” he said.

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