Beaten by Holger Rune in the quarter-finals in Rome, Novak Djokovic recognizes that he came across stronger and that a new generation is now firmly in place. But that does not prevent him from having ambition for the future, starting with Roland-Garros.
For the first time since 2004, the Rome Masters 1000 final will be played without Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. A mind-blowing series that demonstrates the domination of the two men, and which ended this Wednesday with the victory of Holger Rune over the Serb, while the Spaniard is about to announce his withdrawal for Roland-Garros.
In a press conference, the one who will leave his throne of world No. 1 next Monday in favor of Carlos Alcaraz admitted that the Dane, who had already beaten him in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters, was simply stronger: “Obviously , in these kinds of conditions, it is very difficult to overtake him. He is very, very fast, he has great anticipation. He is a very talented and dynamic player, a versatile player. He was just better. He played too well for me for most of the game. I had a bad start to the third set. I think that’s where the match kind of shifted to his side. He kept his nerves and deserved to win. I will ask him for advice. He beat me twice, so I have no advice for him. So far, he’s doing very well. »
Djokovic: “I still want to continue”
Novak Djokovic, like Alcaraz, will take advantage of this somewhat premature elimination to refine his preparation for Roland-Garros, where he dreams of winning a 23rd Grand Slam tournament and thus holding the record alone. “Yes, I’m still confident. I will train and prepare for the most important tournament of the season on clay for me. I know I can always play better. I’m really looking forward to working on various aspects of my game, my body, hoping to get 100% in shape. That’s the point. I still have my Grand Slam chances against anyone on any surface, best of five sets. Let’s see how it goes. »
However, the Serbian player recognizes that the new generation, embodied by Alcaraz, Rune, Sinner or Auger-Aliassime, is gradually taking over: “Obviously, a new generation is already there. Alcaraz will be world No. 1 from Monday. He plays amazing tennis. I think it’s also good for our sport that we have new faces, new guys coming in. It’s normal. We have been saying this for years. Personally, I always try to hang on to each of them. I’m happy – of course, very happy – with my career so far. I still want to continue. His next adversaries have been warned!