Novak Djokovic’s Epic Midnight Triumph in Roland Garros 2024: A Price to Pay?

Novak Djokovic etched his name into Roland Garros history, battling against the formidable Lorenzo Musetti in the wee hours of the morning.

As Djokovic emerged victorious in the latest match ever played at the prestigious tournament, spectators marveled at his legendary tenacity. But amidst the thrill of victory, one question loomed large: at what cost?

Novak Djokovic’s Epic Midnight Triumph in Roland Garros 2024: A Price to Pay?
The start of Musetti-Djokovic occurred around 10:30 p.m., and Musetti's victory in the third set was close to 1:45 a.m. "I really didn't know what to do at one point," Djokovic admitted. © Sipa USA

The reigning champion defeated 22-year-old Lorenzo Musetti in the most recent match in Roland Garros history by displaying his fabled perseverance.

After midnight, there is a sharpest difference between a tennis player’s needs and a fan’s desires. The spectacle captivates people who are observing. A unique event that will live in memory, the spectator’s lack of sleep was quickly made up for with one or two nights of decent sleep. It is a difficult route for those who are playing, both now and in the days and nights to come.

Think of professional tennis’s extreme early morning hours as the sports equivalent of needing to take out a second mortgage, with each additional hour of work representing a compound debt. Who would suffer the most after the spectacular four-hour and thirty-two-minute match between 22-year-old Lorenzo Musetti and 37-year-old Novak Djokovic on Sunday morning?

Give Musetti a tip of the hat; the spring clay court season had once again ended terribly for him. In Paris three years prior, Musetti gave Djokovic a two-set lead before losing the fifth set 4-0 and being overcome.

He was one point away from losing two sets to love this Sunday. However, Musetti made a really aggressive point at that very moment, and he went on to win two sets to one. His game was driven by lightning-fast shot-making, particularly a one-handed backhand that frequently showcased the shot’s unique grace. But once more, Djokovic had the upper hand in the final, defeating Musetti 6-0.

The statement “I knew he could cut me; he just couldn’t kill me” that Jimmy Connors famously made about a problematic opponent was evoked by Musetti’s ability to challenge but not close.

However, the ramifications are enormous if the bleeding continues until midnight. Musetti and Djokovic were supposed to begin play a little after 8:00 p.m. It was decided to fit in an additional match on Court Philippe-Chatrier earlier because to the persistent rain, which caused Musetti-Djokovic’s start time to be delayed until beyond 10:30 p.m. There are no other sports that require as much time from an athlete.

The final set was won by Musetti at almost 1:45 a.m. “I really didn’t know what to do at one point,” Djokovic admitted. “Playing him that third set and the first few games of the fourth didn’t feel great.”

In order to win, Djokovic would probably have to stay on the court until three in the morning. Add in the post-match recuperation activities (stretch, drink, eat, travel), and Djokovic would probably try to get to bed at six in the morning.

Also Read: Jannik Sinner’s Thrilling Roland Garros 2024 Comeback Against Corentin Moutet

Novak Djokovic’s Epic Midnight Triumph in Roland Garros 2024: A Price to Pay?
The fifth set started at 2:30 a.m., a moment when experience and the special combination of heart and mind that has led Djokovic to so many victories are considerably more important than age. © Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Once more, Djokovic demonstrated his greatest gift: persistence and the ensuing capacity to reduce time to the one instant of the subsequent point. Djokovic’s playing style is highly efficient because to his mentality. Consider the countless hours he spent creating it, starting as a youngster and continuing as a professional.

However, Djokovic’s heart—a never-ending capacity to welcome difficulty, remain present in the moment, strike ball after ball, and persistently find solutions to the challenges he faces—is what drives his brilliance.

The fifth set started after two and a half in the morning. It was Djokovic’s 50th time reaching that level, and Musetti’s eighth. This was the moment when experience and Djokovic’s unique combination of heart and mind—which has led to so many of his victories—were far more important than age.

However, after winning at such a late hour, which way would Djokovic go as a result of this victory—forward, backward, or sideways? Who is going to bed right now? Djokovic enquired. “There’s too much adrenaline; I can’t sleep.” I’ll be at your party, if there is one.

What kind of shape would Djokovic be in after his performance on Sunday going into his upcoming match on Monday against—well, anybody, much less 27th-ranked Francisco Cerundolo? However, as Musetti had discovered firsthand, asking Djokovic questions is generally a fruitless venture. Djokovic, 37, had demonstrated that a lion is a lion regardless of the season.

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