Novak Djokovic had a dry start to the clay court season this year as he lost in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters against Daniil Medvedev; but he came back strongly and won the Madrid open after defeating an exhausted Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, 6-3,6-4.
He will be pumped up before heading into the Italian open due to the massive victory. Let's look at the possible matches he is going to play as he tries to clinch his fifth Italian Open.
Djokovic is going to start his campaign against the fiery young Canadian Denis Shapovalov who is still trying to make his mark on clay.
The two met before in the second round of the Australian open this year and Djokvoic won the match in four sets. In all likelihood, Djokovic will win this match as it will be an uphill task for the young Canadian to beat the world number one.
His potential third round opponent will be the local favorite in Rome, Marco Cecchinato, and it will be a revenge match for Novak, since he lost in the fourth round of the French open last year to the Italian.
Once he pasts this hurdle, he might face Daniil Medvedev in the quarters, which is going to be rematch of the quarter-final match between the two at Monte Carlo Masters. If this match happens, Medvedev might not be the clear winner because Djokovic seems to have regained his confidence after his win at Madrid.
Alexander Zverev seems to be his likely opponent in the semi-finals, before Nadal or Thiem await for the championship. Although Federer and Fognini are there in the same half as Thiem and Nadal, it seems unlikely that they will move past either of the two. Of course, Federer did hold match point against Thiem, but the latter has been elevating his game significantly this year. The chances of winning for Thiem or Nadal is thus higher.
The draw is a bit harsh for Novak Djokovic, and it will be a difficult task for the world number one to live up to the expectations as his projected route contains some serious young talent, as well as his long-time rival Rafael Nadal.
Novak's projected route to title:
1)1st round - Bye
2) 2nd round - Denis Shapovalov
3) 3rd round - Marco Cecchinato
4) Quarter-finals - Daniil Medvedev
5) Semi-finals - Alexander Zverev
6) Final - Rafael Nadal/Dominic Thiem
Novak's percentage of winning : 70%
Considering the form he is in before heading into Rome, Djokovic has the highest chance of winning the title among his peers. Some players like Thiem, Cecchinato, Medvedev might challenge him during the course of the tournament, but Djokovic as always will have a way of winning the match with his spectacular resilience and endurance.