Roland-Garros - Ivanisevic does not digest: "I have the blues, but Novak will win Wimbledon"

Roland-Garros – Ivanisevic does not digest: “I have the blues, but Novak will win Wimbledon”

What if this Roland-Garros was a major turning point? By going for his 22nd Grand Slam title, Rafael Nadal broke away from his two Big 3 acolytes who have 20 each. But while the prospects for Roger Federer at almost 41 years old seem limited – if he returns, it seems unlikely that he can win a new Major -, the blow was especially hard to take for Novak Djokovic. In great confidence before the Parisian tournament, he saw himself catching up with the Mallorcan. Instead, here it is somewhat distanced.
Beaten in the quarter-finals by Nadal on the Porte d’Auteuil side, Djokovic did not seem to be able to give his full measure. And he’s not the only one frustrated. “I’m blue and can’t sleep. I can’t say I’m disappointed, but I’m sad. It wasn’t a perfect match, either way. Rafa didn’t play at a spectacular level but body language made the difference from the first point to the last“, estimated his coach Goran Ivanisevic in an interview granted to our colleagues at Tennis Majors on Saturday.

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The Croatian, who did not speak to his player, too hotly affected, cannot explain Djokovic’s passivity during most of this night shock. Especially after having experienced the semi-final between the two men last year. At the time, despite a bad start already, the Serb had clearly raised his voice to take charge of operations. He had no longer experienced the slightest air pocket as was the case last Tuesday.

“I warned him, I even told you (journalists, editor’s note) that the start of the match could be decisive, but it still got off to a bad start… And after the turn of the second set, the way he played the third is incomprehensible. It’s as if he lacked energy and didn’t believe enough that he could win. We can’t afford it against Rafa, because Roland-Garros is his tournament. If he had won the 4th set, who knows. But with “ifs”… Maybe the result would have been different, but I still don’t understand his ‘body language’ and this lack of energy. Novak had too many ups and downs, while Rafa was consistent and absolutely deserved to win this game“, recognized Ivanisevic.

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Maybe Djokovic put too much pressure on himself before the clash? Did he think he had to win because of this famous Grand Slam record race? Maybe. Unless he was destabilized by a short Philippe-Chatrier eruption and almost 100% behind his rival? But the Serb has so proven in the past his ability to resist this kind of partisan atmosphere and even to feed on it – Roger Federer can testify to this both at the US Open in 2015 and at Wimbledon in 2019 – that the hypothesis seems risky.

Besides, Ivanisevic himself does not believe it. “The only thing that I don’t like and that’s really not fair is that the public booed Djokovic when he entered the court. I mean, it’s number 1 in the world (for another week, editor’s note) and he won 20 Grand Slam titles. Whether we like it or not, we should respect it. I don’t know if Novak was embarrassed by this overwhelming support for Rafa, but he learned to deal with it and that can’t be an excuse, in my opinion.

The obligation to bounce back at Wimbledon

So what about the future? Is Djokovic definitely K.-O. this time ? It is true that this 2022 season is cruel for him at the moment. Banned from participating in the Australian Open because he was not vaccinated, he therefore failed in the quarterfinals at Roland-Garros and only has one title this year, acquired in Rome. But the hallmark of champions of this caliber is to get up and come back stronger after a failure, however bitter it may be. Wimbledon is coming fast and the Serbian, defending champion and six-time winner, could well get back there.

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Especially since the competition will be less this year due to the exclusion of the Russians from the tournament (Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in the Top 10), the injury of Alexander Zverev, the uncertain state of form of Matteo Berrettini , or even Roger Federer’s package of course, the only one to really compete with the Serb on grass in recent years. A Rafael Nadal in full confidence and in the running for the Grand Slam could certainly be a major obstacle – we remember their anthology half in 2018 -, but will he be able to participate? Nothing is less sure.

In any case, Ivanisevic does not doubt the resources of his colt and his ability to bounce back. “Of course he can! He doesn’t really have a choice to be honest. He is the big favorite at Wimbledon, as Rafa was in Paris. Novak needs to rest well and prepare for Wimbledon physically and mentally. I’m sure he can do it and I think he will win Wimbledon. I have a good feeling about it.”

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