Djokovic practices his stroke during Paris Masters

Djokovic practices his stroke during Paris Masters

Tuesday’s second-round victory against American Maxime Cressy by Novak Djokovic, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, marked the start of the Serbian player’s successful defense of his Paris Masters crown.

After winning consecutive indoor championships in Tel Aviv and Astana in October, the Serbian extended his winning streak to 10 games when he arrived in the French city.

The number six seed is going for his sixth championship in as little as 11 competitions despite having his season severely hampered by his resistance to receiving the Covid vaccine.

Before he whacked a ball in rage at the Australian Open in January, he was kicked out of Australia for that pose.

In addition, he was obliged to miss the US Open, Wimbledon, and other events, with the exception of Roger Federer’s farewell match at the Laver Cup, for three months following Wimbledon.

Nevertheless, he has said that he is “very thrilled” to end 2022 in grand fashion, and his one hour, 42 minute victory against Cressy extended his winning run in Paris to 10 games after he won the tournament here in 2019 and 2021 after skipping the 2020 edition.

The powerfully serving Cressy, who was born in Paris, was difficult to beat in the first set. She had three set points before being defeated in the tie-break by two double faults.

Cressy blasted 15 aces and 10 double faults during his aggressive but unreliable performance against Djokovic, but the Serbian player survived and broke Cressy on his return to take the second set 5-4 before serving out the victory.

The Bercy audience cheered the 35-year-old Djokovic’s winning start as he stated, “It was pretty intense, just a lot of pressure.”

“First and second serve, you don’t have much space to relax and maybe play a few games more softly when you face someone who serves this well.

“Simply put, you need to always stay alert.

In my experience, I have never faced a player with such a second service.

At Wimbledon, Djokovic won his 21st Grand Slam, one short of Rafael Nadal’s record-tying 22. “I had to lock in, I had to not give him gifts and points,” he said.

“Overall, I’m quite happy with how I felt and how I played.”

13 years after winning his first championship in Paris, Djokovic will next compete against Karen Khachanov in the round of 16.

On court on Wednesday are top seed Carlos Alcaraz, who will play Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka, and Nadal, who, like his former adversary Djokovic, will face Tommy Paul from the United States.

With the exception of partnering with Federer in the doubles at the Laver Cup, Nadal hasn’t played since the US Open and a defeat to Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16 there. Rafael was born in October.

At age 36, he claims he is no longer driven to compete for the top rank at the end of the year. Alcaraz is ahead of him right now in the ATP rankings.

At this point in my career, Nadal remarked, “I’m not battling to be number one; I’m just trying to be competitive in every event I play in.”

When asked about his level of fitness after a “amazing in terms of results but complex in terms of injuries” season, he added: “With an aged body like mine, it’s tough to tell how you are going to respond and perform when you are coming back from a lay-off.”

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