World number one Novak Djokovic won his first victory of 2022 at the Italian Open in Rome, boosting his preparations for next week’s French Open.

Djokovic won the clay-court championship with a 6-0 7-6 (7-5) victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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The 34-year-old Serb sailed through the opening set before fighting back after the Greek seized a 4-1 lead in the second.

Djokovic will be one among the favourites to win his 21st Grand Slam at the French Open, which begins next Sunday in Paris.

“I could not ask for a better lead-up to Roland Garros,” said Djokovic. “I’m going to Paris with confidence and good feelings about my chances there.”

Djokovic appears to be regaining form after a difficult start to the year in which he was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status, followed by early exits in successive tournaments.

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By convincingly defeating Tsitsipas in the final on Sunday, he claimed his sixth victory in Rome – and a record-extending 38th win in a Masters event – while going through the tournament without dropping a set.

His clay court debut was shaky, with a first-round defeat in Monte Carlo, but he has picked up the pace with a semi-final in Madrid and now the Rome victory in the final major before Roland Garros.

With Rafael Nadal down with a foot injury, Djokovic’s biggest opponent at Roland Garros might be 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who has risen to sixth in the rankings with clay-court championships in Madrid and Barcelona

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“After everything that happened at the beginning of the year, it was important for me to win a big title, especially with Grand Slams coming up where obviously I want to play my best,” Djokovic added.

“Everything that I was feeling in the first few months of the year, as much as I’ve felt pressure in my life and my career, that was something really on a whole different level. But I feel it’s already behind me. I feel great on the court. Mentally as well. I’m fresh. I’m sharp,” the tennis star concluded.