Astana Open: Djokovic, three months out and a comeback

Like nothing. Very smart who could have noticed last week that Novak Djokovic was playing his first tournament since his win at Wimbledon in early July. Admittedly, seeing the Serb win at an ATP 250 that did not include a single member of the Top 10 is not in itself a great feeling. What is most impressive, however, is that the affected had so few casualties in his week, he who logically lacked rhythm and had announced that he was suffering from wrist pain after the Laver Cup.

In Israel, the ‘Djoker’ swept away all doubts, or rather any slight question that concerns him. Her little physical annoyance of him? Forgot about the first two-hour training session last Tuesday. His ability to chain matches? He played four from Thursday to Sunday, he won them all, without losing a single set. The key to a third title this season (his 89th career) – only Alcaraz (5), Nadal (4), Ruud (4) and Rublev (3) have as many or more – on a third different surface (Roma on clay , Wimbledon on grass and, therefore, Tel Aviv on hard court), which no one had yet achieved in 2022.

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“Even Federer told Djokovic that his level of play was amazing after a three-month break.”

A level found in a minimum of time

In total, however, Djokovic was absent from the courts for almost six months due to his refusal to be vaccinated: from January to the beginning of April (with the exception of the Doha tournament) and then from July to the end of September. That is, his ability to quickly recover his level.

My focus when I compete is to win tournaments wherever I am, and I’m happy to have a team around me that makes sure I’m in the best possible shape to be a contender for the win. That’s why I came to Israel: to try to win the title. It was my first time playing here in over 15 years and in a Davis Cup match so it was really a fantastic experience.“, He considered the Sunday after his title.

Many winning setbacks for a victorious comeback: how Djokovic dominated Cilic

Facing Marin Cilic in the final, but a solid member of the Top 20 and seeded 2 in the tournament, we certainly find the one who spent 373 weeks in the World No.1 spot. Ultra-effective in recovering from the Croat – who had only conceded four break points in the remainder of the week and whose tennis is expressed marvelously in his indoor conditions – he imposed his infernal pace in exchanges from the touchline background. One break in each set will have been enough for him to double the box in 1h35, like in a parade.

It was more than a tournament.

Objectively, his ranking in the Career (15th) could raise some doubts about his presence at the Masters -he should be in the top 20 since he won a Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon-, but after this week in Tel Aviv, he no longer remain. too many doubts Here he is with a cushion of 565 points at 21 Denis Shapovalov. But it is above all the impression he leaves on the pitch that is more than reassuring. He would even tend to scare his future potential opponents this week in Astana.

I played very good tennis. I hadn’t played a tournament in three months, so I was very motivated to do very well. Especially since people have been so kind, welcoming and understanding throughout the week. I am full of confidence for next week. I am very grateful, it was more than a tournament for me. We have created great ties with people that we will appreciate. They will give us positive vibes for what is to come“, he warned again.

Freshness to match Federer in Turin

The contrast is striking with his nightmarish start to the season in Australia from which he was ejected like the plague over a snafu over his right to participate in the first Grand Slam of the year. It must be said, the “Djoker” is more than ever hungry for victories and if he has a positive point to remember from this season of ups and downs, it is that he will face the outcome physically fresh from him.

Winner of 20 of his last 21 matches -his last loss dates back to the Roland-Garros quarterfinals against Rafael Nadal-, his self-confidence and his tennis have never abandoned him. And it would not be surprising to see him fall in Turin with the wind in his tail after the Astana ATP 500 and the Paris-Bercy Masters 1000. After all, he has Roger Federer’s Masters winning record (6) to match. The kind of challenge that whets your appetite even more.

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