After a rough start to his clay campaign, six-time champion Novak Djokovic hopes for a return for success in Rome this week.
The Serb opens up play Friday against the dangerous Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a first-time meeting.
“I don’t know much about him. I’ve watched him play several times. I’ve seen also his posts decreasing the deficit in the points between us,” Djokovic said in press Thursday.
“I wish him all the best. He seems like a very nice guy, coming from a country that has lots of tennis success. He looks like a very hard worker, fighter on the court. I wish him all the best except tomorrow night.”
Djokovic comes in off an elbow issue and before then was just 2-2 in Monte Carlo and Banja Luka. He says now that he’s good to go.
“It’s all good. It’s all good,” Djokovic said. “There’s always some things here and there that bother you on this level. It’s normal. Also when you’re not 25 anymore, I guess you experience that a bit more than what used to be the case. It takes a little bit more time I guess to recover.
“But I feel good. I miss competition. I love playing in Rome. Historically throughout my career, Rome has always been a very nice tournament for me, had plenty of success, won it many times. Played also quite a few times in finals. My most successful clay court event and the biggest one coming into French Open.”
Also in action Friday in home favorite Jannik Sinner. The Italian made the Miami finals and a Monte Carlo semifinal before getting sick before his Barcelona quarter.
Sinner faces Thanasi Kokkinakis. Also, Holger Rune takes on Arthur Fils, No. 4 Casper Ruud battles Arthur Rinderknech and No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime collides with Alexei Popyrin.
Earlier today as the first round closed, Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland battled past Ugo Humbert 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(8-6) saving two match points.
Nuno Borges defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-1. J.J. Wolf got by Hugo Grenier 7-5, 7-5. Italy’s Marco Cecchinato sent out Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 7-5. Matteo Arnaldi got the better of former runner-up Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and David Goffin bested Italian teen Luca Nardi 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
FRIDAY ROME MASTERS SCHEDULE
Starting At: 11:00 am
ATP [Q] Thanasi KOKKINAKIS (AUS) vs Jannik SINNER (ITA) 
Not Before 1:00 PM
WTA Iga Swiatek (POL)  vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
WTA Ons Jabeur (TUN)  vs Paula Badosa (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)  vs Tomas Martin ETCHEVERRY (ARG)
Not Before 8:30 PM
WTA Jasmine Paolini (ITA) vs Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 
GRAND STAND ARENA
Starting At: 11:00 am
ATP Felix AUGER-ALIASSIME (CAN)  vs [Q] Alexei POPYRIN (AUS)
ATP Stan WAWRINKA (SUI) vs Grigor DIMITROV (BUL) 
WTA Sorana Cirstea (ROU) vs Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 
ATP [Q] Arthur FILS (FRA) vs Holger RUNE (DEN) 
Not Before 7:00 PM
WTA Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) vs Bianca Andreescu (CAN) 
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Poll: Novak Djokovic Or Rafael Nadal, Who Wins Their 49th Meeting Friday In Rome?
I’m liking Sinner’s chances here for a 1st Masters 1000 trophy…if Carlos cools off a touch & Novax ain’t playin’ possum, it just might happen.
May 12th, 2023 at 10:14 am