Djokovic targets peak form in Paris after patchy start to season

rugby09 May 2024 08:00| © Reuters
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Novak Djokovic © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic said he is building up to hit top form for his French Open title defence, after the world No 1 skipped last month's Madrid Masters and arrived early in Rome to continue his preparations for the year's second Grand Slam.

The Serb last competed at the Monte Carlo Masters in April where he lost to Casper Ruud in the semifinals, and the record 24-times Grand Slam champion is still seeking his first trophy of the season.

The 37-year-old, who has split with long-time coach Goran Ivanisevic, is currently working with former doubles world No 1 Nenad Zimonjic and said he was happy with his progress ahead of Roland Garros starting on May 26.

"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," Djokovic told reporters.

"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."

Djokovic also parted ways with fitness coach Marco Panichi and said he had rehired Gebhard Gritsch as he targets success in the Grand Slams and the Paris Olympics.

"We know each other really well. That's why I feel we're synchronised from the very beginning in terms of what we want to do, how we want to approach the programme of training on and off the court. With Nenad as well," Djokovic added.

"I'm pleased with the way the last 10-14 days went in terms of training, in terms of preparation and looking ahead to this tournament, but particularly Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games."