French Open: Djokovic using past failures as incentive for Roland Garros glory

By Sports Desk May 29, 2022

Novak Djokovic says previous failures at the French Open add "more significance" to his quest for Roland Garros glory.

Djokovic has not dropped a set in each of his last nine matches, dating back to his Internazionali d'Italia win, after cruising to a 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman on Sunday.

The world number one has reached a record 16 quarter-finals at the Paris major, while only Roger Federer (58) has reached the last eight at grand slams more times than Djokovic (51).

But Djokovic has not always enjoyed success in the French capital, losing three finals against Rafael Nadal (twice in 2012 and 2014) and Stan Wawrinka in 2015 before defeating Andy Murray the next year.

The Serbian added a second French Open crown to his trophy haul in 2021 by edging out Stefanos Tsitsipas.

As Djokovic looks to defend his title, the 35-year-old explained he has an added incentive given his previous struggles in the tournament.

"It took me years and years to win the title here," he told reporters. "Of course I had some big heartbreaks on the court here, many finals lost and semi-finals, thrilling marathon matches, mostly against Rafa prior to 2016.

"It was very special, very emotional to clinch that title in 2016. It was a huge relief more than anything.

"So in the years to come, I was still continuing to play consistently well here then luckily got another title last year, somehow winning a title here is always probably the hardest of any slam for me.

"Last year the second week that I had here was just probably the toughest four matches, toughest seven days I had to win any slam in my career. So it gives it a little bit more of a significance, so to say."

Djokovic also suggested he is having to make adjustments based on the scheduling times, with top seeds either playing in the early afternoon or in the evening session, which can go later into the night.

"As top players, we do have requests, but those requests are not always accepted," he added. "The tournament director, along with TV, broadcasters, I think at the end of the day that's who decides.

"TV, whether they want your match, day or night, you just have to adjust to that. Obviously, depending on who you play, sometimes it's favourable to play night, sometimes day.

"There is no standard or no formula that works always. Even though I historically played very well and won a lot of matches under the lights on different slams, particularly in Australia."

Related items

  • Rennie lays into Australia after Pumas hammering Rennie lays into Australia after Pumas hammering

    Dave Rennie pulled no punches as he labelled Australia's 48-17 Rugby Championship hammering at the hands of Argentina as a "massive disappointment" and "not good enough".

    The depleted Wallabies were without a host of players including fly-half Quade Cooper, who damaged his Achilles in the opening-round win over the Pumas last weekend.

    Even accounting for the absentees, Australia were still pre-match favourites but were completely outclassed in San Juan as Argentina ran in seven tries.

    It represented the Pumas' biggest ever win over Australia and moved them top of the standings after two games.

    Speaking to Stan Sports after the game, New Zealander Rennie made no excuses for his side's poor performance.

    "Massive disappointment. That's not good enough," Rennie said.

    "We would [like to have a consistent team list] but we had a good enough side to do the job

    "We gave them a few soft points early on and fought our way back into it. We have to do better and we'll get a few players back. Whoever puts the jersey on has to front up but we weren't good enough.

    "We conceded four tries with kicks in between us and got dominated in the collision area. We created plenty of opportunities but we have to be patient and our rucks not a disaster.

    "We just weren't clinical enough. We definitely lacked cohesion with a few changes. We'll look at the footage but we're better than that."

    Australia will look to rebound when they host South Africa in Adelaide on August 27.

  • Hubert Hurkacz advances to Canadian Open final after top-10 showdown against Casper Ruud Hubert Hurkacz advances to Canadian Open final after top-10 showdown against Casper Ruud

    Hubert Hurkacz will contest the second ATP 1000 final of his career after coming from a set behind to defeat world number five Casper Ruud 5-7 6-3 6-2 in the semi-final of the Canadian Open on Saturday.

    It was an interesting clash of styles going into the contest, with Hurkacz expected to rely on his dominant serve, while Ruud is one of the game's top returners, so when Ruud responded to an early break and was the one serving up a storm, it spelled trouble for the world number 10.

    Ruud landed 78 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, compared to 60 per cent for Hurkacz, and the Norwegian won 95 per cent of those points (20-of-21) to allow just one break point in the frame while creating four for himself.

    As Ruud's serve began to falter – with his first serve accuracy and effectiveness both cratering in the second and third set – his game began to struggle to hold up to the metronomic consistency of Hurkacz, who won the ace count 18-to-eight.

    After pulling the match even at one set each, Hurkacz took the contest by the scruff of the neck and won the first four games of the deciding frame to pull away.

    Poland's Hurkacz – who won his only previous ATP 1000 final against Jannik Sinner at the 2021 Miami Open – will now face Pablo Carreno-Busta in the decider after the Spaniard prevailed in a three-hour war of attrition against Daniel Evans 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-2.

    In a match that was close in every area, Carreno-Busta was slightly better, winning 68 per cent (68-of-100) of his service points compared to 60 per cent (66-of-110) for Evans, while committing just one double fault compared to the Englishman's six.

    It will be Carreno-Busta's first ATP 1000 final appearance, with the 2021 Hamburg Open – an ATP 500 event – the only career title for the 31-year-old above the ATP 250 level.

  • Simona Halep and Beatriz Haddad Maia book their places in Canadian Open decider Simona Halep and Beatriz Haddad Maia book their places in Canadian Open decider

    Simona Halep came from a set behind to defeat seventh seed Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final of the Canadian Open on Saturday, booking her place in the final against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

    Romania's Halep, the 15th seed, struggled to return Pegula's serve in the opening set, winning just 32 per cent (nine-of-28) of her return points while compounding her early issues with four double faults.

    Whether Pegula began to run out of steam, or Halep figured something out, she had significantly more success against the American's serve the rest of the way, winning 55 per cent (12-of-22) of her return points in the second set, and 57 per cent (20-of-35) in the decider.

    Halep has now won 11 of her past 13 matches, and Pegula is her third consecutive win against a top-25 opponent after defeating both world number 21 Jil Teichmann and world number 13 Coco Gauff in straight sets. 

    While this will be Halep's 18th career WTA 1000 final, it will be Haddad Maia's first, after she emerged triumphant 6-4 7-6 (9-7) against 14th seed Karolina Pliskova.

    She did not have a serving advantage against Pliskova, who won the ace count nine-to-one, but she was gritty, saving four of the six break points she faced, and refused to concede the second set after dropping the first three games.

    Haddad Maia – the only Brazilian ranked inside the top-100 – has now beaten five consecutive top-25 opponents on her way to the final, including world number one Iga Swiatek, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and Canadian hometown hero Leylah Fernandez.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.