In his race to become the GOAT of tennis, Novak Djokovic has just crossed a symbolic bar. The player won his 1,000th victory on Saturday to reach the final of the Masters 1000 in Rome, with the objective of a sixth crown on Italian clay one week before the start of Roland-Garros.
“If I could have chosen a place to celebrate this 1000th victory, it would have been in Serbia or here,” smiled “Nole” as he received a cake displaying the symbolic number. He is, at 34, the fifth player to join this very closed club which until now had only Jimmy Connors (record holder with 1,274 successes), Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal as members.
In the final without losing sets
The 1,000th victory was not necessarily the easiest against a catchy Casper Ruud (10th) and beaten 6-4, 6-3. But it confirms the return to great shape of the world No.1, still without a title in 2022 after a first quarter almost at a standstill due to its non-vaccination against Covid-19.
In the absence of Rafael Nadal, emperor with ten Roman coronations eliminated in the eighth, and Carlos Alcaraz, a phenomenon at rest for Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5), Djokovic did not fail, arriving in the final without losing sets. “Nole”, who sees Rome as his “second home”, will play Sunday at 4 p.m. against Tsitsipas his twelfth final at Foro Italico (five wins in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2020), the fourth in a row.
But beware of the 23-year-old Greek, in search of revenge for the final of the last edition of Roland-Garros, won by the Serb after a battle in five sets. Tsitsipas was also particularly solid on his serve and opportunistic in his third semi-final in less than a month against Alexander Zverev (4-6, 6-3, 6-3).