WATCH: Novak Djokovic puts his elbow to the test during ‘ferocious’ session with Jannik Sinner
Novak Djokovic looks to have shaken off the elbow injury that has troubled him the past few months and is all set for his return to action at the Italian Open this week.
The world No 1 has been struggling with the injury since the start of the clay-court season at the Monte Carlo Masters at the beginning of April and he was forced to skip last week’s Madrid Open.
However, his medical team have given him the all-clear to defend his title in Rome and, following his arrival in the Italian capital on Tuesday, he took to the private practice courts at Foro Italico for an intense training session with Jannik Sinner.
According to the official Italian Open website, the session was “played at maximum intensity, to test his condition” and it lasted an hour and a half with several “ferocious exchanges”.
The black arm sleeve he wore in Monte Carlo and Banja Luca to protect his elbow was also gone and he didn’t appear to be in any discomfort throughout the occasion.
He did need some work on his neck and shoulder muscles from his physiotherapist Claudio Zimaglia, but that appeared to be part of his normal training routine.
The encounter wrapped up with Djokovic winning the third set 6-3.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner will face either Luca Van Assche, who troubled him at the Srpska Open last month, or Tomas Etcheverry in the second round in Rome while he is projected to face either seventh seed Holger Rune or 10th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-final.
He could face Sinner – who opens his campaign against either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Juame Munar – in the semi-final, but the eighth seed will likely have to get past the likes of Karen Khachanov and Casper Ruud en route to the last four.
Sinner is set to play for the first time since falling ill at the Barcelona Open. He was forced to skip his quarter-final and also pulled out of the Madrid Open.
“I’m very good, to be honest,” he told ATP Media. “I took a little bit of time off after some very long tournaments, which is a good sign, I made a lot of good [results].
“The start of the season was good and I’m happy to be back here, especially in Rome. It’s a special tournament for all Italians and also obviously for me. Physically, we worked very hard for one week now and I’m happy to be here.”
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