Is Novak Djokovic's Geneva Open defeat worrying heading into the French Open?

Djokovic remains one of the favorites to win the French Open
Djokovic remains one of the favorites to win the French Open

Tomas Machac of Czech Republic beat top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-4 0-6 6-1 in the semifinal of the 2024 Geneva Open on Friday, 24 May. Djokovic’s barren spell thus continued as he is yet to win a title this year.

The Serb will begin his title-defence at the Paris major on Sunday, 26 May. He still remains one of the favorites to win the title at Roland Garros 2024 and will be looking to bag his fourth title on the French clay.

Is Djokovic’s lack of form a worry ahead of the French Open?

The Serb has already lost in six out of 20 matches this year, which is a deviation from his marked ruthlessness on the court. His inability to defend the Australian Open and lack of success on clay so far in the season are causes of concern.

However, if one takes a closer look, Novak Djokovic did not look out of touch against Machac. He defended pretty well, hit his down-the-line backhand with trademark authority and aglilely covered the court. There hasn't seemed to be a problem for him fitness-wise either.

Machac went for broke by hitting his shots with a lot of power, but the Serb dealt most back with ease. In fact, the second set, in which the 37-year-old served a bagel to the Czech, saw him play perhaps his best tennis yet this season.

The Serb can afford to focus on Grand Slams only:

At this stage of his career, Grand Slams might as well be the only priority for the Serb. Losing in lower tournaments, therefore, oughtn't bother him much. Moreover, in the ongoing season, there have at least been a few occasions where Novak Djokovic has lost to worthier opponents.

He lost to Alex de Minaur of Australia at the United Cup and the Australian has been in a rich vein of form, breaking into the top 10 in the world. Then he lost to a fantastic Jannik Sinner, who has been in the form of his life, at the 2024 Australian Open. Casper Ruud, who beat Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo semifinal, is also one of the best players in the world on clay.

It is true that the Serb’s losses against Alejandro Tabilo in Rome or Luca Nardi in Indian Wells were shocking. The loss against Tabilo would have hurt especially, as the Serb really seemed to have lost touch in that match.

However, such things can happen at this stage of such a player's career. Djokovic, given his vast experience and astounding success, should easily be able to take those losses in his stride and keep his focus firmly on winning his 25th Grand Slam title in Paris this year.

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