The world number one Novak Djokovic sees the fuss about his waiver of a vaccination against the corona virus and the denied starting permission at several tournaments as a motivation.
"I always try to use these situations and adversities as a drive for the next challenges," said the 34-year-old Serb after winning the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome.
With the triumph, Djokovic is again one of the top favorites for the French Open, which begins on Sunday.
"As often as I have felt pressure in my life and in my career, it was on a completely different level," he recalled of his expulsion from Australia earlier in the year.
"But I think I've put it behind me.
I feel great on the pitch.
Mentally I'm fresh too."
Djokovic wants to catch up with Nadal
Djokovic was unable to defend his title at the Australian Open at the beginning of the season because he was expelled from the country due to the lack of vaccination.
For this reason, he was also not admitted to the American tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.
Recently, a corona vaccination was no longer a requirement for many tournaments.
On Sunday, Djokovic achieved the first tournament win of the year with a 6: 0, 7: 6 (7: 5) against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rome.
He stayed the whole week without dropping a set.
"It couldn't be better than going to Roland Garros with a title in this wonderful tournament," enthused Djokovic, looking ahead to the French Open (May 22 to June 5).
He will now do his "best" to successfully defend his title in Paris, to finally celebrate his 21st Grand Slam triumph - and to draw level with record champion Rafael Nadal in this respect.
When asked about his favorite for the second Grand Slam tournament of the year in Paris, the defeated Tsitsipas replied accordingly: "Currently, Carlos Alcaraz or Novak Djokovic." The 19-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz last had at the Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid triumphed in the final against Alexander Zverev and decided not to start in Rome.
The 21-time Grand Slam tournament winner Nadal was struggling with a foot injury in the Italian capital.Keywords: