Rome (AFP)

A week after a gesture of mood synonymous with resounding elimination at the US Open, Novak Djokovic claims to have learned the "lesson" even if he does not swear that his volcanic temperament will not cause him to slip again in the future .

"It will always be there, I will never forget", assured Monday the world N.1 on the first day of the Masters 1000 in Rome, where, exempt from the first round, it should not start until Wednesday.

"I will have to accept it, move forward, and even welcome it as a good lesson", added Novak Djokovic, congratulating journalists with a touch of irony for reminding him, with several questions, of the mishap. eight days rather in the round of 16 of the US Open.

Instead of a victory he felt was promised, he had to leave New York with his head down after - unintentionally - hitting a ball directly at a linesman in a moody gesture.

"It was totally unexpected and unintentional," he recalled, apologizing again to the judge.

- Nadal "sorry" for "Djoko" -

"But when you hit a ball like I did, you have a chance to hit someone on the court. The rules are clear, I accepted it. I have to move on," said Djokovic, who lost on this occasion his first match of 2020.

Rafael Nadal, questioned on the episode on the occasion of his return to the ATP circuit in Rome, said he was "sorry" for "Djoko".

“But these are the things you shouldn't do. It's important to control your nerves on the court, because if you don't you can be unlucky, like he did. Because obviously he did not want to touch anyone, "added the world No. 2.

Djokovic, laying low under his blue cap, for his first press conference since leaving the United States, seemed to sketch the beginnings of introspection, a term he had used in a message written just after his disqualification.

"I work mentally as hard as I work physically, trying to show the best version of me on and off the courts," said the 33-year-old Serb.

- "A lot of pressure" -

"I'm explosive and he's the type of player I've always been. In my career I've been through ups and downs, controlling my emotions more or less well. But when you're in the hard, alone, and there is a lot of intensity and pressure, so it can happen, "he recalled, however.

"I will obviously do my best so that it does not happen again, but everything is possible in life (...). I cannot guarantee or promise that it will never happen again", he said launched.

As to whether this new outburst of anger, which follows others, will end up casting a shadow on his impressive track record?

"Of course I'm not perfect, I have flaws. Will that be what people will remember? Time will tell, I guess ..."

Djokovic, who has just joined Pete Sampras in the number of weeks spent at the top of the world ranking (286 weeks, record holder Federer has 310), is all the more disappointed with his elimination at the US Open, that he is There felt "good" in terms of the game and "in confidence".

And he now has only one hurry: to start in Rome to turn the page.

"It's good to have a tournament that comes a week, ten days later. The sooner I resume competition, the sooner I will overcome this memory."

A "memory" which, he assures, will not prevent him from releasing his shots: "I don't think I have any problems playing well and hitting the ball, but of course during the point ... (laughs ) "

© 2020 AFP