He arrived in Rome “not really expecting anything”, but Novak Djokovic is leaving the Italian capital a “very pleased” man.
The 12-time Grand Slam winner has struggled for form since returning to action after a small surgical procedure on his troublesome elbow in late January.
However, there were signs of his best form at the Italian Open where he beat Kei Nishikori en route to reaching the semi-finals.
“I can only take positives from this week,” he is quoted as saying by ATPWorldTour.com. “I didn’t really expect anything coming into this tournament, when it comes to results, because I didn’t have many great results in the last period. I’m pleased with how I’ve played [in the] past three days, very pleased.”
He added: “People are very powerful. We can turn things around in one day and I truly believe in that. I’ve experienced it myself many times throughout my life and my tennis career. I believe that one match, one tournament can turn things around one way or another.
“It just depends how you deal with it, how you process everything and how you accept it. How you take the positives or the negatives out of it and use it for your benefit in the future.”
He came up against Nadal in the semi-finals and the King of Clay took his record on the red dirt this season to 18-1 as he beat the Serb in two sets, but Djokovic feels their standards were similar.
“I don’t think that there was too much of a difference [between us], which is great news for me,” he said.
“Rafa is, of course, the best player ever to play tennis on clay-courts and he’s in great, great form. It’s very difficult to play him on clay anywhere.”
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