French Open: Novak Djokovic says energetic crowds are 'one of the biggest reasons' he continues to play

By Sports Desk May 25, 2022

World number one Novak Djokovic highlighted the joy of having fans back in full attendance after he collected his second consecutive straight sets win to advance to the third round of the French Open, beating Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

In his first-round fixture against Yoshihito Nishioka, Djokovic won 55 per cent of the total points in the first set, and increased that number in the second and third.

This time, however, it was Molcan who was slowly improving as the match wore on, as Djokovic won 70 per cent of the first-set points, 57 per cent in the second and 53 per cent as he was taken to a tie-breaker in the third.

Speaking to the media after his win, the Serbian star said he feels in good touch, and gave credit to his "tricky opponent".

"I'm pleased with the way I'm feeling on the court [and] the way I’ve been striking the ball," he said.

"I think today was also under challenging conditions and playing against a specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent and coming off from the [Lyon] final last week. 

"It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well."

He went on to discuss how energising it is to have a full crowd after there was a limited capacity for his 2021 triumph.

"It's great to see the crowd back [and] the full capacity on all courts," he said. "Lots of young people, lots of kids, this is something that I really love to see.

"It always gives you energy. For me at this stage of my career, a crowd and this energy of people coming to watch me play is one of the biggest reasons why I keep on competing [and] playing professional tennis."

Djokovic will play Slovakian Aljaz Bedene in the third round, and despite being aware of his collision course with Rafael Nadal set for the quarter-finals, he said looking ahead that far serves little purpose.

"You are aware what's going on with the other guys, at least in my case, and I know that everyone else is watching everybody else," he said.

"[But] that cannot be dominating most of your time and energy that you invest in a day. 

"So you are aware, but then of course it's really not up to you what they do. It's what you have to do, win matches and make good results."

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