A look at Novak Djokovic’s chaotic 2022 season, as he heads into the French Open

After a turbulent begin to the 2022 season, Novak Djokovic seems to have lastly gotten again on observe in time for the French Open.

With a newly earned Italian Open trophy in hand, Djokovic arrives in Paris seeking to defend his title and proceed his reign at world No. 1.

It has been a staggering turnaround for Djokovic up to now month.

For a lot of the early a part of the 12 months, it was unsure how a lot he would have the ability to play because of his very public unvaccinated standing. Djokovic, who turns 35 on Sunday, arrived on the Australian Open in January and rapidly discovered himself on the heart of a worldwide media storm and authorized battle. Ultimately, his visa was revoked by the Australian authorities and he was deported earlier than play obtained underway. He then watched because the Grand Slam title document was damaged by Rafael Nadal in Melbourne, and in February, he was briefly supplanted atop the rankings by Daniil Medvedev.

Prior to April, Djokovic had performed in only one event (a quarterfinal run in Dubai). But he was in a position to play in 4 tournaments throughout the European clay-court swing main into the French Open, and has made vital progress on the court docket all through. Last week he gained his first title of the 12 months in Rome, and he appears to be surging at simply the correct time. He will open play in Paris towards Yoshihito Nishioka.

If you would like a refresher on Djokovic’s chaotic 12 months, here’s a timeline of the occasions that led as much as the current:

May 15, 2022: Djokovic wins his first title of 2022 on the Italian Open

Djokovic proved he had rediscovered his type on clay with a dominant efficiency in Rome, defeating top-10 gamers Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime on his method to the ultimate. He held off then-No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-0, 7-6 (5) in a rematch of the 2021 French Open title match.

Djokovic did not drop a set all through the week. He later instructed reporters he was joyful about his clay preparation main into the 12 months’s second main.

“I could not ask for a better lead-up to Roland Garros really,” Djokovic stated. “Serbian Open finals, really working my way through the tournament physically. Then Madrid, better performances, but still maybe not as sharp in those decisive moments. And here everything kind of came together and clicked.

“I’m going to Paris with undoubtedly confidence and good emotions about my possibilities there.”

His semifinal victory over Ruud marked his 1,000th career victory on tour.

April 24, 2022: Djokovic reaches his first final of the year

Playing in front of an adoring crowd in his hometown of Belgrade at the Serbia Open, Djokovic advanced to his first final since the Paris Masters in November. Djokovic lost the opening set in all three of his victories en route to the title match. He did that again in the final but, despite forcing a decider and having the distinct home-court advantage, Djokovic appeared to have nothing left in the final set and lost to Andrey Rublev, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-0.

April 12, 2022: Djokovic makes his return to competition

Playing in his first tournament since Dubai in February and in just his second event of the year, Djokovic lost in three sets in his opener at Monte Carlo to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, then-ranked No. 46 in the world. Djokovic later told reporters he “ran out of gasoline utterly” by the third set.

“I used to be simply bodily, utterly — I collapsed. You know, I could not transfer anymore. … Obviously disappointing to lose a match and to really feel this manner on the court docket.

“But again, I’m not gonna stop here. I’m going to keep going and hopefully build my form for Roland Garros. You know, that’s the big goal of the clay season.”

March 21, 2022: Djokovic reclaims the No. 1 rating

Despite not with the ability to play at Indian Wells, Djokovic took again the world’s high rating following Medvedev’s third-round loss to Gael Monfils on the event.

Medvedev’s reign atop the rankings lasted simply three weeks. “Is it better to be No. 1 for let’s say one week in your life or never touch it? You know, I think it’s still better to at least touch it,” Medvedev stated after the loss to Monfils.

March 9, 2022: Djokovic pronounces he’s out of BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open

Djokovic tweeted that he wouldn’t be enjoying in Indian Wells or in Miami because of the vaccine laws in place required for entrance to the United States:

Both tournaments launched statements following Djokovic’s announcement. “We understood from the beginning that Novak’s participation at the Miami Open was determinant on his entry into the United States, which we knew would be a long shot,” stated James Blake, event director of the Miami Open.

March 1, 2022: Djokovic reveals he’s not working with longtime coach

In a publish on his web site, Djokovic introduced he and Marian Vajda had “agreed to end their partnership” after 15 years and 20 main titles collectively. Djokovic stated the choice was made after the 2021 ATP Finals in November.

“Marian has been by my side during the most important and memorable moments in my career,” Djokovic stated within the assertion. “Together we have achieved some incredible things and I am very grateful for his friendship and dedication over the last 15 years. While he might be leaving the professional team he will always be family and I can’t thank him enough for all he has done.”

Djokovic later shared the same message on his Instagram account.

Feb 28, 2022: Djokovic falls to No. 2 in ATP rankings

Djokovic was changed by Daniil Medvedev after his quarterfinal loss within the Dubai Championships. His newest keep within the high spot started on Feb. 3, 2020, and Djokovic’s complete of 361 weeks there are probably the most for any man because the tour’s computerized rankings started in 1973.

Feb. 21, 2022: Djokovic wins his first match of the 12 months

Djokovic defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 to open the Dubai Championships. “I have to be satisfied with my tennis, especially after not playing for two and a half, three months,” Djokovic stated on court docket. “Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that [in my] first match after a while.”

Three days later, he loses 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely within the quarterfinals.

Feb 15, 2022: Djokovic says he’ll decide out of future Grand Slams with vaccine mandates

In his first interview after being deported from Australia, Djokovic reiterated his stance on not getting vaccinated towards COVID-19 and stated he would decide out of enjoying in future majors that may require him getting inoculated. “Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” he instructed the BBC.

Jan. 16, 2022: Djokovic loses attraction, out of Australian Open

Three Federal Court judges upheld a call made earlier by the immigration minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public curiosity grounds.

Jan. 6, 2022: Djokovic denied entry into Australia; visa canceled

After being detained for about eight hours on the airport upon arrival, the 20-time main winner is denied entry to the nation and his visa is canceled. The Australian Border Force says Djokovic failed to satisfy entry necessities. Health Minister Greg Hunt says the visa cancellation adopted a evaluation of Djokovic’s medical exemption — which was anticipated to protect him from the strict COVID-19 vaccination laws in place — by border officers who seemed “at the integrity and the evidence behind it.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweets: “Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.”

The tennis star is brought to a hotel used to house immigration detainees in Carlton, an inner-northern suburb of Melbourne, where he remains for four nights. Fans gather in protest outside the hotel.

Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, takes to Twitter to share her thoughts on the situation.

Jan. 4, 2022: Djokovic announces he is heading Down Under with medical exemption

Djokovic reveals he will compete at the tennis season’s opening Grand Slam event after receiving a medical exemption from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. He posts a photo of himself at an airport on Instagram with a caption that reads, in part: “I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission.” Tennis Australia follows with a statement confirming Djokovic is on his way to the country with a medical exemption that has been “granted following a rigorous evaluation course of involving two separate impartial panels of medical consultants.”

Neither Djokovic nor Tennis Australia reveals the idea for his exemption. Australian Open event director Craig Tiley says a “handful” of exemptions had been granted out of 26 applications from players or others.

Dec. 29, 2021: Djokovic pulls out of ATP Cup

Days before the competition is due to begin in Sydney, Djokovic withdraws from Serbia’s team for the ATP Cup. No reason is given.

“Novak Djokovic has formally withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney, we’ve no replace as but on his plans for the Australian Open,” a Tennis Australia spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Dec. 22, 2021: Djokovic tests negative

According to court documents, Djokovic tests negative for COVID-19 in Serbia.

Dec. 18, 2021: Djokovic does interview and photo shoot for L’Equipe

Knowing he tested positive, Djokovic does an interview and photo shoot with the French newspaper L’Equipe. He acknowledges weeks later: “On reflection, this was an error of judgment.”

Dec. 17, 2021: Djokovic attends Belgrade event

The nine-time Australian Open champion attends an event in Belgrade, Serbia, honoring youth tennis players. Parents post photos on social media showing Djokovic and the young players without masks. Djokovic later says he was asymptomatic, had taken an antigen test before the event that showed he was negative, and only received a positive PCR result after the event.

Dec. 16, 2021: Djokovic tests positive

Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19 in Serbia, although that is not public knowledge until it is revealed by court documents in January. He later says he did not know the result until Dec. 17.

Dec. 14, 2021: Djokovic attends a basketball game

The tennis star takes in a professional basketball game in Belgrade, Serbia. He is photographed hugging several players from both teams, including some who later tested positive for COVID-19.

June 2020: The Adria Tour is called off, Djokovic contracts COVID-19

Djokovic announces that he and his wife, Jelena, have tested positive for COVID-19 after he played in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia with no social distancing or masking required amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Adria Tour is canceled as Djokovic is the fourth participant to check optimistic for the sickness after taking part within the matches held in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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