Djokovic To Enter Roland Garros With Lowest Number Of Clay Matches Since 2006

Djokovic To Enter Roland Garros With Lowest Number Of Clay Matches Since 2006

by Nurein Ahmed

The leadup to Roland Garros is usually a very important stop for many ATP players, including Novak Djokovic.

However, this year, the Serbian has not had the perfect preparation for the clay Slam because he has not accumulated much court time in the two tournaments he has played.

Djokovic has played Monte Carlo and Rome, tallying a combined six matches in both, which is the fewest number of clay matches he has played before Roland Garros in 18 years.

He was a semifinalist at the Principality, losing to Casper Ruud, and that remains his best result on the surface since he won the Roland Garros last year. At the Italian Open, Djokovic could not emulate his excellent performance in beating Corentin Moutet.

The World No. 1 was stunned by Chilean lefty Alejandro Tabilo in straight sets. Djokovic came out surprisingly flat and lackadaisical, hammering five double faults and failing to manufacture a single break point in the match.

Tabilo, who could hardly believe the level displayed by the top seed, completed the biggest win of his career in just over an hour to reach the fourth round in Rome on debut.

The last time Djokovic played fewer than six clay-court matches before the French Open was in 2006 (four matches) when he was in his late teens and was yet to win his first ATP title.

Last year, he had almost the same return, playing eight matches, but still went on to win his third Roland Garros crown and become the first man to complete the career Grand Slam at least three times.

Rome has always been a happy hunting ground for Djokovic, or at least the tournament that has given him the launchpad to peak for Paris. He is a six-time former champion at the Foro Italico and spoke fondly of getting himself in shape for his title defense after an inauspicious start to the season.


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