A bandage on the neck, an unusual stiffness for one of the most elastic players on the circuit, faults by shovel (16 in the first set alone, 41 in total), annoyance, even sometimes resignation … In a 50-minute long first set, Novak Djokovic brought out all the panoply of the player who seemed unable to go to the end of his match. The Serbian let the storm pass, allowed his body to warm up to take the measure of Pablo Carreño Busta. This is what he explained after his qualification.
“I really didn’t feel good entering the court. Things happened during the warm-up. I had to do with these physical issues. As the match progressed I felt better“, he first assured Marion Bartoli. At a press conference, the Serbian was invited to go further … but did not want to do so.
Epiphenomenon or real physical problem?
“Listen, I had neck and shoulder problems, he replied to journalists who insisted on finding out more. That’s all I can say. I don’t want to go into too much detail. I’m still in the tournament so I don’t want to say too much“By this last sentence, Djokovic can imply that he indeed has problems but that he does not want to give clues to his future opponents, Stefanos Tsitsipas in the lead.
Novak Djokovic vs Pablo Carreño
Credit: Getty Images
Is he really hurt? Difficult to know. On Eurosport Germany, Boris Becker, former coach of the Serbian, estimated that the physical problems of “Nole” could be linked to his misadventure of the US Open, and that finding Pablo Carreño Busta had been able to give birth to him a little. voltage. A hypothesis that the Serbian dismissed out of hand. “I told you before, I don’t think about what happened at the US Open anymore“, thundered Djokovic. The case is closed, go your way.
The memory of the US Open
And the game in all this? If he gradually rebalanced the debates, the world number one did not really fly over the end of the game. “I had opportunities, he had his, he summed up. I saved some important bullets in the third. It was obviously crucial to move to two sets to one. “At 3-3, Carreño Busta did indeed have the opportunity to take the lead but stayed short.”I don’t want to take anything away from his performance, assures the Serbian. In the first set and a half, he was the best player on the pitch, he dictated the game. He’s a very good player, he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, the rallies are long“A very good player that” Nole “has however always beaten” on a regular basis “.
This will not be the case for his opponent in the semi-finals. Stefanos Tsitsipas is led 3-2 by the Serbian in their clashes but lost the only duel on earth (Madrid 2019). Against Rublev, the Greek showed a solidity that could serve him Friday. At Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic’s record in the semifinals has so far turned to the wrong side: 4 wins for 5 defeats. No other Grand Slam resists the “Djoker” so much.