The world No. 1 in action at the 2022 French Open

"I did look at the draw, I think we all do, but in the end of, you have to turn your attention to only the next challenge" - Novak Djokovic after 1R win at 2022 French Open

Stan
ANALYST

Novak Djokovic gave his thoughts on the men's singles draw at this year's French Open after beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 in the first round on Monday.

Fans and experts across the globe have been left aghast after four of the top six players, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev, and Djokovic himself, were placed in the same half of the draw.

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Speaking to the media after beating the Japanese, the two-time Roland Garros champion highlighted how draws are entirely about luck.

"Well, I mean, the draw is the draw," Djokovic said. "You know, you can't really affect it. It's a matter of, I don't know, luck or some other force interfering with who is going to come to which side and quarter and semi and whatever."

The Serb admitted to having gone through the draw like he reckons most players have.

"Look, you know, I did look at the draw. I think we all do," he added. "But in the end of the day, you always have to turn your attention to only the next challenge."

The Serb has been drawn to face 13-time champion Nadal in the quarterfinals, before potentially needing to cross swords with either Carlos Alcaraz or Alexander Zverev in the last four.

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Turning his attention to his performance against Nishioka, the Serb admitted that he struggled to hit through the Japanese during the initial phase due to the latter's foot speed, slow conditions, and low bounce on offer.

"Have to be pleased with the start. Beginning of the match, until I really got used to and kind of adapted to his game, it was difficult to go through him," said Djokovic. "You know, he's very quick, one of the quickest players on the tour. The conditions, quite slow. Ball was not bouncing, and it was just difficult to penetrate him, I think."

"The memories from last year still are fresh in my head" - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic after winning the 2021 French Open
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Novak Djokovic played his first Grand Slam match in more than eight months against Nishioka after missing out on this year's Australian Open. When asked if the large gap had any impact on his mindset, the Serb answered in the negative.

"Well, I did not notice any particular disturbance, so to say, mentally or in my preparation or throughout the entire match today," the World No. 1. said.

Djokovic asserted that he was excited to get out on the court and continue building on his recent claycourt form.

"I actually looked forward to getting out on the court," the Serb continued. "I have been feeling very well on clay in the last, you know, three, four weeks, of course. Excited to bring out intensity on the court and compete with the guys."

The defending champion created history in Paris last year by becoming the first man in the Open Era to complete a double career Slam. After beating Rafael Nadal in a pulsating semi-final contest, the Serb came from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the summit clash.

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He revealed that his memories from last year's title win were still "fresh" in his mind.

"So, look, I'm happy to be back. Roland Garros is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, and the memories from last year still are fresh in my head, in my mind. It was nice to be back on the center court," he said.

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
 
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