Novak Djokovic began his French Open journey with a strong win against American Aleksandar Kovacevic in the opening round.
The third-ranked player defeated Kovacevic in three consecutive sets with scores of 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(7-1) at Roland Garros, as he starts his pursuit of a third championship at the major tournament.
The triumph maintains his perfect record in initial round matches at the French Open, improving to 19-0 overall.
The Serbian player has tied a record previously achieved by Roger Federer, becoming the second player in the Open Era to win 65 consecutive first-round matches at grand slam events, from Roland Garros 2006 to 2023.
With 14-time winner Rafael Nadal absent from the men’s competition, numerous players have a chance to rise and win the Coupe des Mousquetaires.
Carlos Alcaraz, a Spaniard, is highly favored as the top seed. However, Djokovic also has a strong likelihood of winning his 23rd grand slam title. This would surpass Nadal’s record and solidify Djokovic’s status as the greatest male tennis player in history.
If Djokovic were to win a third French Open championship, he would regain the number one ranking in men’s tennis. He currently has 86 victories at grand slam tournaments, trailing only Nadal’s 112.
However, the 36-year-old has experienced difficulties during this clay-court season. They have been unable to progress past the quarterfinals in three events and have also had to sit out of another due to an elbow injury.
In the first two rounds against Kovacevic, Djokovic displayed no evidence of being out of practice or feeling anxious. He skillfully analyzed the 24-year-old without any hesitation.
Although Kovacevic was a fan of Djokovic growing up and even took a photo with him at the 2005 US Open when he was seven, he fought back in the third set and managed to break Djokovic’s serve when he was trying to win the match.
The audience booed Djokovic when he cupped his ears to the crowd after taking a 4-3 lead in the third set.
Kovacevic put up a strong fight and managed to push the match to a tiebreak, which Djokovic won easily.
The second round will now see the 22-time grand slam champion competing against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.