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Djokovic Back On Track For 21st Grand Slam at French Open

  • The World No. 1 was sharp in his first Grand Slam match in more than seven months.
  • The 35-year-old has reached at least the quarterfinals at Roland Garros each year since 2010.
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Novak Djokovic showed no rust for someone playing his first Grand Slam match in more than seven months, brushing aside Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round of the French Open. 

Monday’s rout (6-3, 6-1, 6-0) was the 35-year-old’s first match in a major tournament since falling to Daniil Medvedev in last September’s U.S. Open final — a loss that ended his run at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Now, the World No. 1 leads the pack for his third French title and a $2.3 million payout, is back in the hunt for a record-tying 21st Slam, and is on a collision course with the man he’s chasing, Rafael Nadal.

  • Djokovic has earned only $1.4M thus far in 2022. 
  • But his $156M in career earnings are the most all-time, topping Roger Federer ($131M) and Nadal ($128M).
  • He’s the No. 1 seed for the fourth consecutive year and eighth overall — and has reached at least the quarterfinals each year since 2010.

If both he and the Spaniard advance as expected, Djokovic could meet 13-time French winner Nadal in an epic quarterfinals showdown.

In the meantime, Djokovic continues to court controversy. Months after he was disqualified from January’s Australian Open for being unvaccinated, the Serb condemned Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in Monday’s post-match comments.

Maybe Djokovic thrives under a siege mentality — after all, he’s the current favorite to win the French (+200) ahead of Carlos Alcaraz (+250) and Nadal (+330).

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