Former World No. 1 Mats Wilander claimed that Novak Djokovic’s exceptional physical fitness and mental strength enforced the injury on Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti as he withdrew from the fourth round clash. The current World No. 1 did not have a great start in his fourth-round fixture at the Roland Garros as Musetti won the opening two sets to put the Serb on the backfoot.
However, Djokovic came back to his element and then won 16 out of the next 17 games to put Musetti under a lot of pressure which forced him to withdraw from the game. Djokovic won the match 6-7(7), 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0.
Wilander who is a 7-time Grand Slam winner analysed Musetti’s physical issues. He opined that due to constantly chasing after balls the Italian youngster got tired and eventually fizzled out.
“Did Novak actually cause it [Musetti’s injury] by just running him around so much during the first two sets?” Wilander said on Eurosport. “Not worrying about the score and then seemingly just knowing exactly what to do – and then he did it for the rest of the match.”
Wilander was impressed by the Italian but he also highlighted how Djokovic broke him down physically and then later imposed himself on the game.
“It was unfortunate, but still a great performance by Musetti,” added the Swede. “Obviously he didn’t have it [the injury] in the first two sets so at some point Djokovic wore him down and he broke down physically. Both tactically and physically, Djokovic is a Master.”
While Djokovic uncharacteristically took two sets to come back to his element, Wilander feels it was mostly nerves that played a big role. The Serb struggled with his returns and committed 12 unforced errors in the match.
“Novak was most probably a little bit nervous,” continued Wilander. “I think so. It’s a big moment playing a youngster. Obviously, there is no way Novak would see himself lose to Musetti but (he was) a little passive early on. I think it’s the forehand he has problems with when he’s nervous.”
All in all, Djokovic survived to fight another day in an exciting matchup. He will now face another Italian in Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals of the Roland Garros.