Novak Djokovic sends out ominous French Open warning and reveals new fitness coach

Novak Djokovic sends out ominous French Open warning and reveals new fitness coach

Novak Djokovic has sounded a warning to his rivals ahead of the French Open by declaring he is on course to hit peak form at the second Grand Slam of the year.

The world No 1 is in Rome for his final warm-up event ahead of the defence of his Roland Garros title and he has revealed he has shaken off all his fitness concerns since his last tournament in Monte Carlo a month ago.

With his big rivals Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner out of the Rome Master due to injury and facing a race to be fit for the French Open, Djokovic appears to be in pole position to get his season into top gear at the perfect moment.

The Serbian may be lacking match practice after playing just 12 regular tour matches so far in 2024, but he was in a bullish mood as he prepared to take to the courts in Rome once again.

“I had plenty of time to also rest and train,” he said, reflecting on his latest break away from tennis after he opted against playing at the Madrid Open.

“I had a good training block. I arrived here two days ago to get a hit on the centre court, as well, obviously, stay four or five days training before my first match with top players.

“Obviously it’s different when you train with them, playing practice sets, seeing where your game is at, kind of working your way towards the fine form for the first official match, so…

“I think I’m on a good route to peak at Roland Garros in Paris. Hopefully, here in Rome, I can play better than I did in Monte Carlo. That’s the wish, obviously, is always to go far.

“Let’s see. It’s a different concept now. It’s the first time that Rome and Madrid are almost two weeks events, like Indian Wells, Miami.

“It gives you I guess more time to recover between matches if you keep going in the tournament, which I think is useful for me.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic has ‘stars aligning in his favour’ according to respected tennis voice

Djokovic also opened up for the first time on his decision to part ways with fitness coach Marco Panichi, with Gebhard Gritsch returning to his team in Rome as a replacement for now.

“I am working currently with a fitness coach that I worked with for many years,” he stated.

“It didn’t take much time to adapt to his program and approach. We know each other really well.

“That’s why I feel like we’re synchronized from the very beginning in terms of what we want to do, how we want to approach the program of training on and off the court.

“So, yeah, I’m pleased with the way the last 10 days, 14 days went in terms of training, in terms of preparation and looking ahead to this tournament, but particularly Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Olympic Games. That’s the block for which we are preparing the most.

We just have to see, wait and see, how it’s going to be translated, that work, or transformed into a good performance on the court.

“The training that you do with sparring partners, maybe not top players, is completely different than the ones you have with the guys who are top five, top 10 in the world, your biggest rivals.

“I got to play with (Grigor) Dimitrov yesterday, today with (Holger) Rune, practice sets.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to get that kind of play feeling on the court and build momentum.”

Djokovic is reported to have lost his practice set against Dimitrov on Tuesday, with match rustiness inevitable for a player who has spent so little time on court so far this year.

Related Articles