February 23, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Relaxed Djokovic hits the practice court (video)

PARIS – Novak Djokovic arrives in Paris far more encouraged about his prospects than he was even a month ago.

A first-round loss after his last-minute entry into Barcelona, and a second-round loss in Madrid were setbacks.

But after reaching the semifinals in Rome and giving eventual champion Rafael Nadal a lot to handle before losing in straight sets, he can look at the French Open and imagine the possibilities.

Better yet, Djokovic’s effort in Rome ensure he wouldn’t get to Roland Garros unseeded.

His ranking points from a year ago, when he reached the Rome final, were dropping off and even if he entered the event ranked No. 18, he wasn’t going to stay in the top 40 if he didn’t put up a good result.

Instead, the 2016 champion comes into Paris as the No. 20 seed. And he finds himself in the opposite half of the draw from Nadal, after the singles draw was made Thursday evening.

Good draw for Djokovic

Djokovic will face a qualifier or a lucky loser in the first round, with a fairly rusty David Ferrer as a potential second-round opponent and No. 13 seed Roberto Bautista-Agut looming in the third round.

The top-ranked player in a potential fourth-round matchup is No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov, a good outcome. And his potential quarterfinal opponent could be No. 10 Pablo Carreño Busta or No. 8 David Goffin (with long shots Gaël Monfils and Nick Kyrgios also in that section).

So he had a lot to be smiling about, as he hit the practice court on Suzanne Lenglen Wednesday with Borna Coric of Croatia.

Here’s some video of that effort.

Djokovic even had a special smile for the grounds crew, who were waiting in a corner of the court and had their mobile phones out to get a shot of him.

Relaxed

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