After a ridiculously long lay-off from competition due to vaccine mandates in both the US and Australia, Novak Djokovic seriously looks to have hit his stride again. Momentum was always going to be the Achilles heel for the lean Serbian tennis extraordinaire, and this showed in his lacklustre performance earlier in the season in Dubai. In his most recent matches, it almost seemed like he was attempting to increase his match fitness by ensuring the matches were drawn out longer. Having played just 4 matches in 4 months, Djokovic is ramping up a momentous comeback to the sport. Compared to his rivals over the past two weeks (Kecmanovic -24 matches, Djere- 17 matches, Davidovich-Fokina- 19 matches), he has really played next to nothing.
However, Djokovic has a long stretch of play where he will not be impeded. Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros, followed by Queens and Wimbledon are just some of the major tournaments headlining the Serb’s itinerary. If there is ever a chance that Novak will remain competitive on tour, it is these next two months which will be the most telling.
Two majors are on the line over this period. It will be no slim pickings if Djokovic was to nab both, even if he was unable to play the rest of the season. As well, slurry of Masters 1000 events are also up for grabs.
For Djokovic, his next stretch of the season kicked off on a great note, when this week organisers confirmed his participation.
Angelo Binaghi, tournament director of the Italian Open (Rome Masters), gave the greenlight for Djokovic’s participation, upon consultation with the Italian government’s ‘undersecretary of sport’, according to ESPN.
This was also coupled by an announcement from French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo, that Djokovic would be welcomed with open arms to enter the main draw of Roland Garros.
All in all, this second stanza of the season is shaping up as one of the ages. A healthy Djokovic and Nadal will most certainly be the two favourites to contend for Wimbledon. After a 3 year hiatus from Wimbledon (In 2020, the event was cancelled, 2021 Nadal withdrew due to injury), Nadal will certainly be locked and loaded.