Sunday, June 23, 2024

Roland Garros: Five stories to watch in 2024 including Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Swiatek

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Before this year’s Australian Open, it was felt Djokovic was likely to carry his dominant 2023 into the new season.

The 37-year-old Serb reached the semi-finals in Melbourne but was nowhere near his lofty levels throughout.

Since losing to eventual champion Jannik Sinner, it has been a turbulent few months in the 24-time Grand Slam champion’s career.

Coach Goran Ivanisevic and fitness trainer Marco Panichi, long-standing members of Djokovic’s team, left after the world number one’s early exit at Indian Wells.

Djokovic reached the semi-finals in Monte Carlo at the start of the clay-court swing, losing to last year’s beaten Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, but the uncertainty surrounding him came to the fore again at the Italian Open.

Djokovic was accidentally hit on the head by a metallic water bottle after his opening win and felt hampered by the after-effects in a shock loss to Alejandro Tabilo two days later.

Doctors in Serbia later said Djokovic showed signs of concussion and, after a semi-final defeat in Geneva on Friday, it will be intriguing to see what form the top seed is in.

“Of course I’m worried. I haven’t been playing good at all this year,” said Djokovic.

“I don’t consider myself a favourite at Roland Garros.”

Djokovic is not the only top men’s player with questions about his form. Neither Italy’s Sinner or Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz have played recently because of injuries.

But Germany’s Zverev won the Rome title, while two-time finalist Ruud is likely to be a contender.

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