Djokovic eager to put US Open behind him in Rome

Novak Djokovic said Monday he wants to turn the page on his US Open disqualification when he competes in the Italian Open in Rome this week.


“It’s great that I have a tournament right after that happened, because I feel like the earlier I get back in a competition mode, the faster I’ll overcome that memory and kind of reprogramme it,” the world number one told reporters in the Italian capital.


Four-time winner Djokovic, who has a first round bye in Rome and opens his campaign midweek, said he had been shocked over his last 16 exit in New York after he accidentally struck line judge Laura Clark with a ball hit in frustration. “Of course it was very hard for me to accept right after it happened,” said the 33-year-old.


“For a couple of days I was in shock, and I was shaken by the whole default thing. “I checked with Laura after the match. She said that she was fine. No big injuries. “But, yeah, I mean, it was totally unexpected and very unintended, as well, of course to hit her.

“But as I said, when you hit the ball like that, as I hit it, you know, you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court. “The rules are clear, so I accepted it, and I had to move on. I have my first chance here in Rome.” Djokovic’s New York default was his first defeat in 2020.


“I don’t think I will have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well and hit the tennis ball, of course during the point,” he said.


The 17-time Grand Slam winner however could not rule out it would not happen again. Djokovic is the top seed ahead of world number two Rafael Nadal in the tuneup for the final Grand Slam of the season, the French Open which begins on September 27.


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