“That Will Give Him Strength”: Mats Wilander Details Why Novak Djokovic Is Favorite To Win French Open 2022

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ROME, ITALY - MAY 14: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point in the men's singles semi-final match against Casper Ruud of Norway on Day six of the Internazionali BNL D'Italia at Foro Italico on May 14, 2022 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY – MAY 14: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point in the men’s singles semi-final match against Casper Ruud of Norway on Day six of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia at Foro Italico on May 14, 2022, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

After several setbacks, the way World No.1 Novak Djokovic captured the title at the 2022 Rome Masters has shown he found his rhythm. However, the seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander hopes that the first quarter of the season’s woes will supply fuel for the Serbian to defend his title in Roland Garros.

Most notably, Djokovic missed the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open 2022, due to his Coronavirus vaccination status. And also Serbian forfeited the North American ATP Masters 1000 tournaments(Indian Wells and Miami Open). As a consequence, the French Open 2022 will be the first major event of the year for the 20-time Grand Slam Winner.

“I think Novak has to be the favourite,” Mats Wilander said. “Winning in Rome will be huge for his confidence but Novak also has a feeling of revenge for everything that happened to him over the past few months that will give him strength.

In addition to this, Novak Djokovic fell in the Madrid Masters 2022 semifinal to eventual champion Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the tight three sets(7-6, 5-7, 6-7).

“He is defending the French Open after not being able to play at the Australian Open so that’s huge as well. Now that he’s shown he can play tough matches, huge matches, even though he lost to Alcaraz in Madrid, he has shown he can play for a long time.

In his comeback, Serbian lost his opening match in the three sets(3-6, 7-6, 1-6) to Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Monte-Carlo Masters 2022 in Monaco.

“In Monte Carlo, he looked bad in his match in the end with Davidovich. He looked bad, tired but suddenly now he looks much better.”

“Djokovic is the clear number one in his own group but we know how good he is at dealing with pressure.”

Mats Wilander
Mats Wilander

“Djokovic knows that he has memories of playing his best and memories of winning those big points. He has memories of trusting his own instincts and decisions and believing he is making the right decisions at the right times.”

“He believes in the past, then the past will help him in the present time and that is where Novak has his strength. As soon as he believes he is making the right choices, then that’s when I believe he is back to being the best player in the world.”

“I think he will be back at that point. I don’t think he is hitting the ball as well as he did in the past, I’m sure the confidence is not the same as it was in the past but I think if he believes in his own choices then he will be unstoppable.”

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