Rome champion Djokovic delights in ‘sunshine double’

Published May 17, 2022
POLAND’S Iga Swiatek poses with the trophy after defeating Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the Italian Open final.—AFP
POLAND’S Iga Swiatek poses with the trophy after defeating Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the Italian Open final.—AFP

ROME: Novak Djokovic said his seven-year-old son Stefan had won his first tournament on the same day the Serb lifted his first crown in more than six months at the Italian Open, describing their success as a “sunshine double”.

Djokovic beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) to triumph in Rome on Sunday, ensuring a perfect week for the world number one before the French Open starting on May 22, but the 20-times Grand Slam winner was equally pleased for his son.“The journey started successfully. My son won a tournament today. A sunshine double,” Djokovic said, adding that his son’s victory at the small club tournament would stick in his memory.

“I wanted him to enjoy it on the court... He was on cloud nine with the family, my parents, my wife’s parents, everybody supporting him. It’s nice.”

Turning the focus onto himself, the 34-year-old said he was hitting top gear as he aims to defend his Roland Garros crown and go level with Rafa Nadal on 21 major titles.

SERBIA’S Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the Italian Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Foro Italico.—Reuters
SERBIA’S Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the Italian Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Foro Italico.—Reuters

“I’d rate myself as one of the favourites. I don’t spend much time thinking who’s going to win it or who might have the best chance. I always think about myself,” Djokovic said.

“I go there with the highest ambitions. I like my chances. The way I’ve been feeling on and off the court in the last few weeks, I can go far.”

Earlier, Iga Swiatek said she was going to treat Roland Garros as “any other tournament” after beating Jabeur 6-2, 6-2 to retain the women’s title.

World number one Swiatek dropped to her knees in tears of joy after winning her 28th match in a row, and will be red-hot favourite in Paris.

“I’m going to treat it as any other tournament, I think it’s going to be fine and I’m going to be able to keep it that way,” said Swiatek.

“I already know that I did some great stuff this season, so I feel like I can just play freely and not think I have to win.”The 20-year-old Pole has dropped just one set in her last 20 matches and calmly dealt with Jabeur in a largely one-sided final in Rome.

Tunisia’s Jabeur had made history last week after becoming the first Arab or African woman to win a WTA 1000 title but could not extend a career-best 11-match winning streak against her relentless opponent.

Jabeur has moved up one place in the world ranking to sixth after reaching her second straight final and remains a force for the French Open.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

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