The Serbian champion explains the loss in Belgrade: “I have bad feelings on the court. But the goal remains Roland Garros”
He bends on his knees, exhausted, exhausted. Not the Novak Djokovic we’ve known for the past 10 years. It was he who made his hallmark of resistance, flexibility and reactivity, now very far from his standards. Thanks to the apparent opposition to a Covid vaccine, Nol has played very little, very little since the start of the year. First, the disqualification from the Australian Open, and then the two sets of the Masters 1000 on the US hard courts in Indian Wells and Miami, meant that the technical and physical condition of the man who touched the Grand Slam in 2021 is still far from mature. It underscores number one above all others: never, from 2018 to today, has Djokovic reached this stage of the season without lifting the trophy. In his defense it must be said that he played only three tournaments: Dubai, where he stopped in the quarter-finals, a tour in Monte Carlo and then Belgrade, where he reached the final, which Rublev defeated.
After the defeat in the tournament at home, Knoll expressed concern over a situation he was not used to dealing with. He feels weak, apparent, without the fuel to manage the important moments of the match: “Despite the joy of playing in my home, in front of my people, I could not reach the end – he explained -. Unfortunately in the third set I completely lacked energy, I did not have the strength To fight, and in those conditions it was impossible to oppose one of the strongest players in the world.” Behind this drop in energy, as well as a physical readiness that was not yet at full capacity, there would be an unspecified “disease” that would have struck him a few weeks earlier.
‘It’s not covid’
This isn’t Covid, which Nole actually had last December: “I didn’t like the feelings I had at the end of the game. It was something similar to what happened to me in Monte Carlo. I think it’s related to the distress. It happened recently. Fortunately, that lack came.” In energy at the end of the tournament and not at the beginning. After all, I played four games in the third set.” It is possible that it was influenza, perhaps an enterovirus, but there are also those who assume that a long Covid virus would especially weaken the body of the Serbian player.
“I don’t want to go into details.”
“No, Covid has nothing to do with that – number 1 in the world said – it’s something else and I don’t want to go into details, but it affected my body and my metabolism. I had to undergo medical treatment, but it’s not in place yet and the sensations are worrying.” Knoll experiences it before, or at least she hasn’t encountered in years: “It was a tough disease both physically and mentally, and also because I used to be healthy, and I didn’t have any major problems I’m taking the positive side, to get to the final.”
Djokovic’s goal is much more than 250 cc, he wants to confirm himself as the champion of Roland Garros, and immediately reached the host Rafa Nadal in 21 Slam tournaments. The possibility that Serbian cannibals could have a tonic effect. But much will depend on the coming weeks, how his body reacts to fatigue in the first tournament played from start to finish, and how he manages to recover from the mysterious illness. Madrid, at the moment, is still on his schedule, and after that awaits him Roma, with whom he has always had a special relationship and where he lost the final to Rafa last year. Two weeks with matches in five groups in Paris will be a very difficult test. In addition to the Grand Slam, the world throne is also on the table. Precedence is in the order that will be based on the results of the next 1000 Masters. Indeed, if Nol wants to avoid being overtaken, he will have to win the title either in Madrid or in Rome, or alternatively he will only need a third round and a final, or eventually, semi-finals both in Spain and in Foro Italico. But above all, another loom will be needed.
April 25 – 11:27 PM
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