Novak Djokovic French Open 2022

“Is that a reflection of Australia?” – Tim Henman ‘surprised’ by ‘pumped-up’ Novak Djokovic

Former British number one Tim Henman has admitted he “was surprised” by Novak Djokovic and his “pumped-up” start to the 2022 French Open as he argued that the Serbian’s attitude in his opening round match could have stemmed from him missing the Australian Open.  

The world number one Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year back in January due to him being unvaccinated against Covid-19.

In his absence, long-time rival Rafael Nadal won in Melbourne to clinch a record 21st Grand Slam title and edge ahead of Djokovic who has 20 Major titles to his name.

Now, over the next fortnight, Djokovic has his first opportunity of the year to move level with Nadal if he wins the title in Paris.

On Monday, he started the defense of his title with a routine win over Yoshihito Nishioka with the score reading 6-3, 6-1, 6-0.

Interspersed with solid serving and powerful baseline hitting, the two-time French Open champion also showed lot’s of emotion on court which featured several fist pumps and full-throttle roars of delight which were booed by the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Reflecting on the Serb’s opening round performance, former French Open semi-finalist Tim Henman admitted to being “surprised” by Djokovic’s attitude on the court, arguing that his “pumped-up” display could potentially be down to his admission from the Grand Slam in January.

Speaking to Eurosport, the former world number four told reporters, “His performance was one thing, his ball striking, the consistency on serve, but I was surprised by his attitude, he was so pumped up.

“There was a lot of fist pumping, the screaming and shouting out, for a first-round match at a Grand Slam, for someone who has won 20 of them, is that a reflection of what happened in Australia where he didn’t get the opportunity? This is his next opportunity to get to 21 and he is so pumped up.

“You saw from the word go he was so motivated, focused and fired up, ready to get the job done and that’s what he did. He is trending in the right direction.

“He is maybe a little bit underdone but getting the victory in Rome and to come here and make a little bit of a statement.

“Some of the other top players got off to good starts and Djokovic would have been aware of that, you saw all aspects of his game, his movement, his game, his touch, it really was a complete performance. He steamrolled Nishioka.”

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