Rafael Nadal had a winning start at Roland Garros, as he begins the hunt for his 10th French Open championship. Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Stevie Johnson also advanced.
USA TODAY Sports
PARIS — In a bizarre sort of way the French Open is the scene of the crime for Novak Djokovic.
Last year, as the world No. 1, Djokovic enjoyed one of his most thrilling career moments by finally conquering the red clay of Roland Garros. He had been in the French Open final three times before, but failed to add the title to his other Grand Slam trophies, a collection that included multiple victories at all the other majors.
The downside is that since becoming a French Open champion he’s struggled with his tennis, and he’s been thwarted in scoring a 13th major victory.
The second-seeded Djokovic’s return to the French Open as the defending champion finds him still searching for answers. Attempting to recapture the glory he still longs for, a quest he’s not ready to abandon, is turning out to be quite the conundrum.
At least, for now, his defense campaign is off to an acceptable start as he bypassed Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in a 2 hour, 27 minute performance that delivered a few shaky moments on Monday. Throughout the match, Djokovic admittedly didn’t play as cleanly as he’d prefer.
His serve posed some problems as he was broken on four of 10 opportunities he presented the Spaniard. In the end, Djokovic was able to take advantage of eight of 20 break points, which made the difference in his moving onto the second round.
“Coming to this tournament for the first time as a defending champion gave…