Novak Djokovic Downplays Fatigue After Loss to Rafael Nadal at Italian Open Final, Aims to Peak at French Open 2021

Published 05/16/2021, 4:10 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic poses with the runners up trophy after losing against Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the final REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


World number one Novak Djokovic, who didn’t perform well on the red-dirt before the Italian Open, has changed his fortunes at the tournament and became the top challenger for Rafael Nadal at the French Open that starts in a couple of weeks.

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After his third-round loss to Dan Evans at the Monte-Carlo Masters, the Serb decided to skip both events at Barcelona and Madrid. During that time, Djokovic played in a clay-court tournament at home, in Belgrade. He was stopped by the Russian Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
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Novak Djokovic has a lot of positives to take from the Italian Open 2021

As a result of this defeat, the Italian Open turned out be a significant event for the Serb, and he delivered the goods when mattered. In his incredible run to the finals, Djokovic defeated the likes of Lorenzo Sonego, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Taylor Fritz.

Even though he lost to Nadal in the final, the Serb will enter the French Open with huge confidence. Talking in the post-match press conference about how the Rome Masters helped him get back to form, Djokovic said, “Last few days were a confidence booster for clay, I’ve found the game. Now I have to keep it and peak in Paris.

Both Djokovic and Nadal played an enthralling match and continue to defy the odds despite the rise of several youngsters like Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, etc.

These youngsters got the game to beat the duo, but it’s the lack of mental toughness during crucial moments that’s keeping the next-gen players from winning the big tournaments consistently. As long as the youngsters have this mental block, both Nadal and Djokovic will continue to win grand slams and other Masters 1000 events.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

“I didn’t feel any fatigue”, says Djokovic

Coming to the Italian Open final, Novak Djokovic had a disadvantage entering into the finals as he was forced to play back-to-back matches  in a single day. He played against Tstisipas in an intriguing three-setter and went on defeat the local boy Lorenzo Sonego in the semi-finals.

However, despite the heavy toll on his body, the world number one denied feeling any fatigue in the press. Even in the match, Djokovic’s movement was exquisite and he didn’t complain of fatigue anywhere. But, the Serb was seen flexing his shoulders a couple of times during the match.

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“I didn’t feel any fatigue. I could have gone for another few hours”, Djokovic explained.

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For the way with which the final was played, there is no doubt in saying that the Serb could have easily played for another few hours against his greatest opponent, Rafael Nadal. The duo managed to put up yet another monumental final in Rome, and tennis fans eagerly await their matchup in the upcoming French Open.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

400 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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