Tennis

Djokovic aims to shrug off issues and win fourth French Open title

PARIS: Novak Djokovic begins his French Open title defense on Tuesday, aiming for his fourth Roland Garros crown and a record-extending 25th Grand Slam title. Despite a challenging season, Djokovic is confident in his experience and pedigree to overcome recent setbacks.

The world number one has not won a title in 2024, with his best performances being semi-final appearances at the Australian Open and Monte Carlo Masters. Additionally, he faced a physical setback in Rome when he was accidentally hit by a metal water bottle, causing nausea and dizziness.

Last week in Geneva, Djokovic was knocked out by Tomas Machac and mentioned dealing with a stomach problem. “I wouldn’t call them holes. They are rather bumps on the road,” Djokovic said, emphasizing his focus on the future challenges. On Tuesday, he will face French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert, whom he defeated in their only previous encounter at the Paris Masters in 2013.

In other matches, two-time Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka begins her quest for a first Roland Garros final. The world number two, who has reached at least the semi-finals in the last six Grand Slams, faces Russia’s Erika Andreeva. Sabalenka has shown significant improvement, partly motivated by her rivalry with world number one Iga Swiatek.

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina, a quarter-finalist in 2021, will play against Belgium’s Greet Minnen. Additionally, Argentine qualifier Roman Andres Burruchaga, son of Jorge Burruchaga who scored the winning goal in the 1986 football World Cup final for Argentina, makes his Grand Slam debut against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

(Source: AFP)

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