Following his wrist injury scare in Monte Carlo, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic appears to be ready and fit to begin his campaign at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The Serb will begin his week against Czech No. 2 Radek Stepanek, with the Djokovic vs Stepanek Head to Head standing at 9-1.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic was finally coming into form on the tour this season when he injured his wrist during the Monte Carlo Masters, eventually succumbing to 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the semi-final. Prior to that he had won his fourth consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and his fourth Miami crown with a victory over top ranked Rafael Nadal. The win moved him to No. 3 in the Masters 1000 titles leaders list with 18. It was his 43rd career title and made him the only player not named Roger Federer to win the Indian Wells, Miami sweep in the same year twice in his career.
Djokovic, who won the Italian Open in 2008 and 2011, stated that he is healthy and prepared to take part in the tournament.
“It’s a wiser decision if you try to heal it 100 per cent than 50 per cent and compromise the next weeks,” Djokovic said. “The second time that it comes back it becomes a chronic injury, which you definitely don’t want to have. From now on I will be extra careful about my wrist.”
The Serbian star also mentioned that his coach Boris Becker is in Rome with him this week.
“Boris is here. And we’re trying to see if we can get Marian here, because they’re both going to be present in Paris,”
Radek Stepanek began his week in Rome by rallying from a set down to defeat Spain’s Pablo Andujar 5-6, 6-3, 6-4. The win sets up the 11th encounter with the former world No. 1.
Djokovic leads Stepanek 9-1 in the head-to-head series, including the last eight consecutive matches dating back to 2007. This is only their second meeting on clay, as they met at this tournament in 2008, where Djokovic led 6-0, 1-0 before Stepanek retired from the contest.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets