Novak Djokovic tempers expectations after second-round win at French Open

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Novak Djokovic continued to keep his expectations low at the French Open after an encouraging performance on Thursday. Djokovic reached the third round in Paris with a comfortable 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over Roberto Carballés Baena of Spain.

“I don’t want to get too much ahead of the present day, because I haven’t had really great form as a lead-up to Roland Garros,” Djokovic said. “So I have to keep my expectations a bit lower.

Of course, hopes and beliefs and convictions are always there, always high, and I always aim for the highest star, so to say. But I’m being very conscious of the present moment and what needs to be done on a daily basis to build my form as the tournament progresses, hopefully, and then peak at the right time when it matters the most.”

After recent complaints by David Goffin and Iga Swiatek about unruly fan behaviour in Paris, Djokovic had his own run-in with a spectator sitting in the front row on Court ­Philippe-Chatrier after they shouted out before Djokovic hit a ball during a rally in the first set. Djokovic said he supports Goffin’s animated reaction after facing abuse from partisan French fans.

“It’s a fine line when that line is passed and when it starts becoming disrespectful towards the player,” said Djokovic. “In those instances, I understand that a player like Goffin the other day reacted, because I have experienced quite a few times those particular situations. So I support a player standing up against people who are disrespecting and heckling him. It’s not always possible to tolerate. Of course it’s very much needed, because you don’t want to be spending unnecessary energy elsewhere. But at times you just have to face somebody that is heckling you. That’s all you can do.”

Alexander Zverev followed up his win over Rafael Nadal by reaching the second round with a 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2 win over Goffin. Zverev’s victory means he remains in the tournament as his public trial for allegedly physically abusing his ex-partner, Brenda Patea, begins on Friday in Berlin. The 27-year-old is not required to attend the trial, but he can be summoned by the judge with one week’s notice. Zverev had initially been issued a penalty order with fines totalling €450,000 (£392,000). Zverev contested the penalty order, which opened up the case to a public trial. Zverev denies the allegations.

Amélie Mauresmo, the French Open tournament director, said that Zverev will be free to play as long as there has been no decision made in the trial. The ATP, meanwhile, still has not announced the results of the safeguarding review it undertook in 2021 after separate allegations of abuse from another former girlfriend of Zverev, Olga Sharypova.

Daniil Medvedev reached the third round after Miomir Kecmanovic retired while trailing 6-1, 5-0 and Paula Badosa defeated Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to set up a meeting with her close friend Aryna Sabalenka, who eased to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Moyuka Uchijima. Afterwards, Badosa offered a difference of opinion to Swiatek’s criticism of the French crowds after her win over Naomi Osaka on Wednesday.

Paula Badosa celebrates her victory against Yulia Putintseva in the women’s singles second round match at the 2024 French Open on 30 May 2024View image in fullscreen

“I think she cannot complain, because I played court eight and nine and you can hear everything,” said Badosa. “Like, I can hear [Courts] Suzanne-Lenglen, Philippe-Chatrier, court six, court seven during the points. I think she’s very lucky she can play all the time on ­Philippe-Chatrier and she’s OK with that. But I don’t mind. As I said, I played in small courts these days, and I was hearing so much noise. In that moment, I’m just so focused on myself and on my match that it doesn’t really bother me. Honestly, I like when the fans cheer and all this. I think I get pumped.”

In positive news for Swiatek, still the tournament favourite, Jelena Ostapenko, the ninth seed, fell 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 to Clara Tauson of Denmark. Ostapenko holds a 4-0 record against the Pole and defeated her at the US Open last year. The in-form Danielle ­Collins was also beaten on Thursday, losing 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4 to Olga Danilovic of Serbia.


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