Djokovic Loses To Dimitrov In Practice Ahead Of Italian Open Return

Djokovic Loses To Dimitrov In Practice Ahead Of Italian Open Return

by Zachary Wimer

Novak Djokovic played his first practice match ahead of the 2024 Italian Open against Grigor Dimitrov and he lost it.

Practice sets are not matches, and players usually don't play them like matches, but they're the closest they can get to a competitive match before tournaments. They're common in the final days of players' preparation before an event because it's in these stages that they fine-tune their games.

In Rome, Djokovic hopes to build upon a solid outing at the Monte-Carlo Masters, where he won a handful of matches. He didn't play his best tennis at the event, but he played better than the last time he participated in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament (Indian Wells).

Many expect an even better level from him in Rome because it's an event where he generally plays really well, and he won it six times. The practice, though, didn't go that well for him because he lost to Dimitrov 3-6.

It's known that the Bulgarian probably takes practice sets more seriously than most top names, and the Serbian was likely getting back into his rhythm and trying out the court after missing quite a lot of time.

The real test will be how he performs in the competitive matches because they are what ultimately matters. The draw was nice for him, so he can use those matches to really get into tennis shape after skipping over a couple of weeks of competing.

As the top seed, he has a first-round bye, and in the second round of the tournament, he will play against the winner of the match between Corentin Moutet and Roman Safiullin.

Djokovic hasn't played at his level so far this year, and he will try to find it in Rome, before heading to Paris for the Roland Garros as the defending champion.


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