PARIS: Top seed Novak Djokovic said he was ‘physically, mentally, emotionally’ ready to land a second French Open title after beginning his quest in emphatic fashion on Tuesday.
In his first Grand Slam match since being disqualified from the US Open this month for inadvertently hitting a line judge with a ball, Djokovic was supreme in a 6-0 6-2 6-3 first-round demolition of young Swede Mikael Ymer.
Some had suggested the Serbian world number one might suffer a reaction to his New York humiliation but he won the Rome title in the build-up to Paris and on Tuesday extended his season record to 32-1. His only ‘loss’ was the default against Pablo Carreno Busta in US Open fourth round.
While 12-time champion Rafa Nadal remains the slight favourite, the damp and heavy conditions with a lower-bouncing ball appear to be tailor-made for Djokovic‘s precision style.
“I actually enjoyed myself on the court today. I think I played really well,” Djokovic, who was on his best behaviour throughout, told reporters. “A few hiccups here and there, but I think generally the game is there.
“I’m ready physically, mentally, emotionally to go deep in the tournament. Hopefully I can have another successful year here in Paris. I am definitely very confident.”
After his New York trauma Djokovic‘s opening test in Paris was as stress-free as it gets and at times it looked as though he were playing an exhibition match, teasing Ymer with dropshots and lobs before pummelling exquisite baseline winners.
The first set was all over in 20 minutes.
“I thought I started off extremely well,” Djokovic, who beat Andy Murray to win his one French Open crown in 2016, said.
“Six love, that’s the best possible way to start a Grand Slam. Trying to get off the blocks very strong.
“You could see there is quite a few surprises in the first round. You know, you have (Daniil) Medvedev out, some big players. It tells a lot about these conditions.”