ROME (AFP) – Novak Djokovic won his sixth Italian Open title on Sunday after a straight-sets victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5) in Rome.
World number one Djokovic saw off underwhelming Monte Carlo Masters champion Tsitsipas to claim the last major tournament before Roland Garros gets underway later this month.
The 34-year-old won his first tournament of the season and confirmed his return to form after an opening few months of the season dominated by COVID-19 vaccination controversy.
“I’ve been building my form for the last couple of weeks and like the previous years I knew that my best shape on the clay is usually coming around Rome time,” Djokovic said on the court.
“So it couldn’t be a better time coming into Roland Garros with a title.”
Sunday’s clash was a rematch of the pair’s final at last year’s French Open final but had little of the drama of that five-set thriller won by the Serb in Paris.
Djokovic made surprisingly short work of Greece’s Tsitsipas, who had also reached the semi-finals of last week’s tournament in Madrid and still leads the men’s tour for wins this season.
Ranked fifth in the world, Tsitsipas was taken apart in the first set and looked oddly reluctant to take on Djokovic, but put up more of a fight in the second right until he threw away the set after serving for the match, succumbing in the tie-break without much resistance.
An emotional Djokovic then spoke to the crowd in Italian, telling them that they were the reason he had such a good record there and revealing his son Stefan was playing in his first ever tennis tournament.
He later beamed with pride as he revealed Djokovic junior had claimed the honours at a small club competition back home in Serbia.
“My son actually won the tournament. It’s a sunshine double today,” Djokovic told reporters.