Ranked 114th in the world, American Aleksandar Kovacevic gave him a little bit of trouble. After a quiet start (6-3, 6-2), Novak Djokovic slightly gritted his teeth in the third set (7-6) to quietly pass the first round. Present for the 19th time at Porte d'Auteuil, the double winner of 2016 and 2021 is moving quietly through the table. Hungary's Marton Fucsovics (No. 83) awaits him in the next round.
One down. Six to go. 💪🇷🇸 @DjokerNole I #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/hhtZhf7kzI
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 29, 2023
As much as his match, the world number 3 managed his exit from court. At the microphone in the middle of the center, Novak Djokovic took the time to answer the questions of the Spaniard Alex Corretja, double finalist on this clay in 1998 and 2001. For years, the Serb has made the effort to answer questions on the court in French. This time, almost a year to the day after his quarterfinal loss to Rafael Nadal at the end of the night, Djoko pushed the cork even further. He obviously debriefed his match in the language of Molière, hailing the resistance of his opponent. And then, he put the audience of the Philippe-Chatrier court in the pocket.
"Do we continue in English or French?" asked Corretja: "I want to speak in French, even if I think I have already exhausted all the words I master in your language," said the man who is going to the historic conquest of a 23rd Grand Slam title. Obviously at that moment, the audience of what he considers one of the "biggest tournaments in the world" stands up and gives him a standing ovation.
"He may not be my favorite player but I want him to win the tournament to witness a moment that will remain etched in history," said one spectator. When he stumbles over a word, Djokovic turns to his right and calls for help: "Please, I'm looking for a French teacher..." Ten fingers rise at once to volunteer. Djoko calls out to one: "You, do you want to? I commit you."
It's folded. Once again, Court Chatrier fell under the spell of Djoko. After his speech, he steps over the parapet, goes to some fans, offers them as very often two towels out of his bag and accepts a few selfies. Djokovic's fortnight is well underway on the court and on the grandstands...