Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘My best shape’ – Novak Djokovic says Rome title is ideal preparation for French Open

World number one Novak Djokovic claimed his sixth Rome Open title after defeating world number five Stefanos Tstispas in the final as he stepped up his clay-court preparations ahead of the French Open. 

On Sunday, Djokovic finally won his first title of 2022 – a record-extending 38th Masters 1000 title with his 1001st match win.

For Tsitsipas, it was his fifth successive defeat on clay against Djokovic in what was the Greek’s first Rome final.

Djokovic, who has had a turbulent start to the year, came close last month to winning his first tournament of 2022 at the Serbia Open but lost in the final to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

However, it was a different story in Rome as the Serb secured a bagel in a one-sided, 30-minute first set before fighting back from 4-1 in the second to seal a win 6-0, 7-6(5) win.

The win means that Djokovic will be the world number one for a record 370th week and becomes the oldest Rome champion aged 34 years, 11 months and 23 days.

Discussing his title win in the Italian capital, Djokovic stated he earned his win over the Greek number one due to the hard work he had put in over recent months to prepare for the French Open, where he is bidding to equal Nadal’s record and win his 21st Grand Slam title.

Speaking post-match, the two-time French Open champion told reporters, “I pleasantly surprised myself.

“Even though I have a clear game plan and strategy coming into the match I knew what was expected of me from the other side. I knew what I had to do.

“The tie-breaker I was an inch better, maybe calmer, but it was a tight tie-break for both of us certainly.”

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