ATP 250 Belgrade – In diesel mode before Roland, Novak Djokovic regains his level before the final against Andrey Rublev

Novak Djokovic’s house was rebuilt stone by stone. Getting very close to disaster earlier in the week, here is the Serbian one game, and one win, from winning his first title of the 2022 season. And Miomir Kecmanovic.

It is above all his entry into the race against Djere that is still in people’s minds. Driven by a set and a break, unable to play tennis well, on the street physically, Djokovic was unrecognizable last Wednesday. He was even painful to see. Between this Djokovic from four days ago and the one seen from the second set of the first half against Karen Khachanov on Saturday there is a world of difference. But opening the guide “Djoko”, it is not surprising that the boss of the men’s circuit has always had a diesel side, both on the circuit, after an injury like in 2018 and also in his Grand Slam courses.

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No, Novak Djokovic will not become the player of a year ago, especially during the Australian Open – Roland-garros – Wimbledon hat-trick, but he has taken the right path to hope to find this level in not too long. This is his strength, in a short time “Nole” knows how to transform his level of play both between two tournaments and in the heart of a match. Last year, at Roland-Garros, he made an impression by overturning compromised situations against Lorenzo Musetti in the round of 16, and scoring even more against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, to the point of creating trauma to the Greek. In Belgrade this week, no need for a bathroom break, Nole has found her way onto the pitch, like a musician who scales him.

From the beginning of the second set I started to feel the ball (better), especially on the backhand, which didn’t work in the first set. The second and third sets are the best I’ve played this season“, admitted the number 1 in the world, who had only played four games before settling at home. His transformation to the 2022 version took place in two phases in the semifinals: first at the end of the first round, then by bringing out the steel car mentally hardened, recovering a compromised situation at 1-1, 0/30, at the beginning of the second set.

After taking the Russian’s serve at 2-1, Nole went to convince his people, his audience, to win his cause and needs to see him on the pitch. So much so that Jan Oblak, the Atlético de Madrid goalkeeper, went by express to Belgrade to see him in situ. With him, Djoko’s car found his fuel. Everything changed. “I used the energy of the audience that today was phenomenal (…) probably the best of my entire career“, He assured.

“If he plays every week, Djokovic will be ready for his goal: Roland-Garros”

A month of May that will weigh a lot

His victim of the day, Karen Khachanov, did not see the turning point coming. Very good in the first set, both on duty and in play, the 25-year-old was landed as rarely. He knows the animal well, however, he has only beaten it once in his career, in the final of Bercy 2018 “.To be honest with you in the second set, I don’t know how he does it, but he switched modes and started playing like it was a new game. I tried to answer but couldn’t do it today“, lamented the 26th place in the world, frustrated by this level increase.

What will be Djokovic’s level on Sunday? In front of Andrey Rublev, he will fall apart. If the Muscovite does not have a counter-game like him, he knows how to distribute without putting it everywhere, as before. A profile capable of quickly finishing points that the Serbian does not like, mainly on ocher. Their only match to date, played during the last Master of Turin, had easily returned to the man with 20 Grand Slams. The Belgrade final will inevitably be different and Djoko will have less room for error than the last three opponents. Even though he still has that “resurrection” button still next to him.

If winning his 87th career title, in front of around 8,000 dedicated fans, sounds like a good idea, it’s pretty much on the accounting level that Djokovic can make a good deal by going all the way. Outgoing semifinalist, the Serbian would have lost 90 points next Monday. Eventually he will make a small profit. It will be 60 points if he loses against Rublev or 160 in case of final victory. A coronation would send Daniil Medvedev, currently absent from the circuit, at 270 points in the ATP classification.

The rest will still be difficult. The Serbian will lose the second part of the points of his coronation in Madrid 2019 (500 points, May 9) and those of last year’s Roman final (600 points, May 16) while the Russian will lose only 100 points in all respects. Seeing Djoko remain number 1 in the world before Roland-Garros (2000 points to defend) therefore seems a bit utopian at the moment.

So yeah, earning as much money as possible seems like a good idea, especially since Alexander Zverev and probably Rafael Nadal will be playing in a few days as well. But besides the pharmacist accounts for the standings, this stay in Belgrade will perhaps give him even more than a handful of points: a fresh mind for his real start to the season. If the head goes, everything else follows Novak.

Novak Djokovic

Credit: AFP

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