HomeTennisNovak Djokovic sends message to Rafael Nadal as pair return at Italian...

Novak Djokovic sends message to Rafael Nadal as pair return at Italian Open


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Novak Djokovic has warned Rafael Nadal and his other tennis rivals that he is ready to peak at the French Open after a disappointing year. The Serb is yet to win a title in 2024 but hopes to end that barren run ahead of Roland Garros.

Djokovic and Nadal are set to begin their Italian Open campaigns over the coming days. The world No. 1 enters the last-64 on Friday while Nadal plays world No. 108 Zizou Bergs today.

Both players are likely to use the Masters 1000 tournament as preparation for the French Open. Djokovic believes he is peaking at the right time to defend his crown in Paris.

He said: “I had plenty of time to also rest and train. I had a good training block. I arrived (in Rome) two days ago to get a hit on the centre court, obviously stay four-five days training before my first match with top players.

“Obviously it’s different when you train with them, playing practice sets, seeing where your game is at and working your way towards the fine form for the first official match.

“I think I’m on a good route to peak at Roland Garros in Paris. Hopefully here in Rome I can play better than I did in Monte Carlo.”

Meanwhile, Nadal has enjoyed his best run of fitness in over a year. He has enjoyed three consecutive weeks of action in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, respectively. A final French Open title for the King of Clay seems unlikely, but the Spaniard is confident that the quality of his performances is improving.

“Well, it’s something that is not every day the same. Is not a line like this (steadily up), it’s a little bit [up and down]. Even after Barcelona, I had some tough moments in Madrid. Even here the first day,” Nadal explained.

“But in a general perspective, the line is going up, without a doubt. So yeah, I mean, happy to be today where I am. because one month ago, for me was almost impossible to think that I will be able to play in Barcelona, then in Madrid, and now being here in Rome.”

He added: “My feelings are better always. In terms of tennis, too. Why not? I am here to try my best. Tomorrow is a start. All the matches are tough for me today and difficult and more unpredictable than what the matches used to be for me, especially on clay.”

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