Novak Djokovic came out on top this week at the Italian Open. After a dominant performance in Rome, what does Djokovic’s dominant performance mean for the ATP field heading into Roland Garros?
Coming into the red clay swing of the season, there were questions about Novak Djokovic and his match fitness. After losses at Belgrade and Madrid, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz were slotted ahead as favorites at Roland Garros. Now, after a dominant performance in Rome, there is little doubt Djokovic is back and playing at his top level again.
Coming into the week, Novak was coming off a loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid semi-final, his best result of the season. With the hype of Alcaraz and Nadal’s consistency, Novak was slotted behind those two in terms of favorites for Roland Garros. After this week in Rome, where Djokovic didn’t drop a set and beat some outstanding players, Djokovic has firmly planted himself as the favorite heading into Roland Garros.
It wasn’t just the fact the Novak Djokovic won in Rome, it was how he did and the players he beat. On the way to his title, Djokovic took out Aslan Karastev, Stan Wawrinka, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. That is multiple top-ten players that Djokovic dispatched with ease, including one of the most consistent and best players in the world, Tsitsipas in the final. It was awe-inspiring stuff from Djokovic, who once again reminded the tennis world who the best player is.
There will be a lot more to know about Roland Garros after the draw comes out on Tuesday. The qualifying has started in Paris but we won’t know the main draw until a little longer. There will be landmines for Djokovic, with Nadal and Alcaraz seeded 5th and 6th. One of those players will be in the way on the way to the finals. Throw in Tsitsipas, Ruud, or even Alexander Zverev, and Djokovic will have a difficult path to defend his title in Paris. No matter who stands in his way, if Djokovic can perform as he did in Rome, no player should be able to best Djokovic in a best-of-five-set scenario.