July 24, 2024
NOVAK DJOKOVIC

The first half of 2024 has been an unexpected tale of disappointment for Novak Djokovic, but all that could be about to change over the course of the next two months.

That’s the verdict of the respected tennis broadcaster Marcus Buckland, who has told Tennis365 that the ‘stars are aligning’ for the world No 1 as he targets glory at the French Open and Wimbledon over the next couple of months.

Djokovic’s slide in fortunes this year was not expected after he finished 2023 with three Grand Slam titles, the world No 1 ranking a victory in the ATP Finals in Turin.
Yet Jannik Sinner’s blistering form at the start of this season ended Djokovic’s dominance as he beat the Serbian in the Australian Open semi-finals, with a defeat against Luca Nardi at Indian Wells and a loss to Casper Ruud in Monte Carlo adding up to a worrying dip in form for the 24-time Grand Slam king.

The exit of his long-time coach Goran Ivanisevic added to the perception that the Djokovic machine was starting to break down, yet the events of the last couple of weeks appear to have fallen in Djokovic’s favour.

World No 2 Sinner and No 3 Carlos Alcaraz are suffering from injuries that ruled them out of this week’s Rome Masters and they are also doubts for the French Open, while the No 4-ranked Daniil Medvedev is also battling an injury concern ahead of the second major championship of the year.

It leaves a fresh and hungry Djokovic in pole position to get back to winning ways, even as he prepares to celebrate his 37th birthday later this month, with Buckland convinced he will win at least one of the French Open and Wimbledon this summer.

Former Sky Sports and Amazon Prime presenter Buckland will be on site for the two Grand Slams this summer as part of the team that will broadcast daily for Roland Garros and Wimbledon radio and he told Tennis365 that Djokovic may be the favourite for both titles once again.

“The stars look as though they might be aligning for Djokovic again,” said Buckland in an interview with Tennis365.

“Like all the great champions, Djokovic loves to prove people wrong and just when you think they are getting to the end, they come back and win again.

“I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that he wins the French Open and Wimbledon.”
The only reservation Buckland has around the exit of Ivanisevic and fitness expert Marco Panichi, with the exit of two such prominent characters in his camp leaving unanswered questions.

“I do wonder what is happening to his team,” continued Buckland. “Goran has done an incredible job during his time with Novak, but I am sure it is an incredibly pressurised situation when you are in the Novak camp.

“Goran was there for a long time and for whatever reason, coaches come and go in tennis when the time is right, but for the fitness guy to go now, that was a strange one. You wonder exactly what’s going on behind the scenes.

Djokovic will aim to reassert his control on the men’s game at this week’s Rome Masters, with the uncertainty around who will pick up the latest ATP 1000 title in the Italian capital taking some getting used to.
“For all my years at Sky Sports, which was 2007 to 2018 and then during my time at Amazon up to the end of last year, it was still a bit of a closed shop because the top of the men’s game four of them ruled the roost,” added Marcus.

“We have like through this incredible era dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, with Andy Murray right there with them when he was fit.

“It is a little bit strange that we are now going into tournaments like this week in Rome and we don’t quite know what is going to happen. It’s great, but it’s odd because this is not what happen used to be like over the last two decades.

“There is a part of me that just loved that dominant period from the greatest champions in the history of the sport, but I love trying to work out who is going to do well each week now and that variety may bring extra interest into the sport.”“For all my years at Sky Sports, which was 2007 to 2018 and then during my time at Amazon up to the end of last year, it was still a bit of a closed shop because the top of the men’s game four of them ruled the roost,” added Marcus.

“We have like through this incredible era dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, with Andy Murray right there with them when he was fit.

“It is a little bit strange that we are now going into tournaments like this week in Rome and we don’t quite know what is going to happen. It’s great, but it’s odd because this is not what happen used to be like over the last two decades.

“There is a part of me that just loved that dominant period from the greatest champions in the history of the sport, but I love trying to work out who is going to do well each week now and that variety may bring extra interest into the sport.”

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