Tennis-Djokovic eager to regain form ahead of French Open defence

  • Tennis
  • Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Tennis - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 12, 2024 Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his round of 32 match against Chile's Alejandro Tabilo REUTERS/Claudia Greco/File Photo

(Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic is hoping to get a few matches under his belt at this week's Geneva Open ahead of his title defence at Roland Garros, after recovering from a freak injury he suffered this month.

Djokovic has struggled this season and has yet to win a tournament in 2024.

The 24-times Grand Slam champion's preparations for the French Open have been far from ideal, beginning with a loss to Casper Ruud in the Monte Carlo semi-finals.

He then opted to skip the Madrid Open before losing in the third round of the Italian Open, two days after he was hit on the head by a fan's water bottle while signing autographs.

The Serbian, who said he felt out of sorts during his 6-2 6-3 loss to Alejandro Tabilo, told reporters on Tuesday: "The head is good. All is well. I've trained for over a week and I'm feeling fine.

"I've dedicated quite a bit of time with my new fitness coach to build the endurance, to build physical strength and capabilities that I need in order to play a best-of-five Grand Slam on the physically most demanding surface, which is clay.

"So, hopefully, I'm going to get more than one match here in Geneva, that's the goal and then let's see what happens in Paris."

In his first match in Geneva on Wednesday, Djokovic will face German Yannick Hanfmann, who beat three-times Grand Slam champion Andy Murray earlier in the tournament.

"The reason why I chose to come and play is because I feel like, at this moment, there is no better practice for me than match play," Djokovic said.

"I feel like I need more matches, even if it's one match, two matches, three, four hopefully. It's good for me, because that's the way for me to try to find that kind of form that I need for Roland Garros."

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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