Last Updated on May 6, 2023
The Italian Open is a clay court tennis tournament that holds every year in the historically rich city of Rome, Italy. The Italian Open has its origins in another historically relevant Italian city-state: the city of Milan. In the year 1930, what was then known as “The Italian Championship” held its first edition on the tennis courts of Milan. This first edition of the championship was birthed by Count Alberto Bonacossa. The Foro Italico presently hosts the Italian open. The Italian Open over the years has enjoyed a long and varied history.
The first five editions of the competition were held in Milan. In 1935, the competition moved to the Foro Italico, what followed was a 13-year hiatus between 1936 and 1949 with the competition resuming in 1950. In 1961, the tournament was held in Turin. The Italian Open became open to professional players in 1969. The men’s event is an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event while the women’s event is a WTA 1000 event. The men’s event is also called the Rome Masters.
Serbian Novak Djokovic claimed his first grand slam, the Australian Open in 2008. This broke a dominance the top 2 players held in the sport. Before Djokovics’ 2008 Melbourne win, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had between them won the last 11 grand slams. Djokovic has unmistakably gone on to make his mark on the tennis world, he is at present tied on Men singles Grand Slam titles with Federer at twenty each, which is currently only bettered by Nadal’s 21 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic’s favorite hunting grounds are the hard courts of The Australian Open and Wimbledon but he has over the years proven himself to be a well-rounded player bringing his very best athletic, aggressive style to all tournaments he competes in, including the
Clay courts of the Foro Italico.
Novak Djokovic at Italian Open
Novak Djokovic was unsuccessful in his bid to qualify for the 2006 Italian open. He lost in the final round of qualifying to Fabio Fognini.
At the 2007 Italian Open, Novak Djokovic got seeded fifth for the tournament. The top 8th seeds received a bye into the second round of the tournament. Djokovic was knocked out 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinal by eventual Champion Rafael Nadal.
Novak Djokovic was on a high following his first men’s singles grand slam title at the 2008 Australian Open. He had ambitions to succeed at the pinnacle of tennis and arrived at the 2008 Italian Open in good spirits. His semifinal opponent Radek Stepanek had dispatched top seed Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. After Djokovic took the first set against Stepanek 6-0, Stepanek retired very early in the second set giving Djokovic a pass to the final against Swiss Stan Wawrinka. In the final, Djokovic lost the first set against Wawrinka 4-6 but regained his composure to win the next two sets securing a 4-6,6-3,6-3 victory and clinching his first Rome Masters title.
After having overcome second seed Roger Federer in the semifinals, Novak Djokovic was unsuccessful in his bid to defend his Rome Masters title at the 2009 Italian Open. He lost the final match in 7-6, 6-2 straight sets to top seed Rafael Nadal.
At the 2010 Italian open championship quarterfinals, Novak Djokovic was knocked out in three sets by 6th seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. In the next round, Verdasco would lose in straight sets to compatriot David Ferrer.
Novak Djokovic came into the 2011 Italian open in fiery form, he was unbeaten in 2011 and had won the Australian Open earlier in the year. He cruised into the semifinals of the competition without seeming to break a stride where he needed three hours to overcome fourth seed Andy Murray in three sets winning 1-6,6-3,7-6. At the 2012 Italian Open final, Novak Djokovic faced off against defending champion Nadal in a repeat of the 2009 final. Nadal had lost his last four finals against Djokovic in all competitions and this proved to be no exception. Djokovic defeated Nadal in 6-4,6-4 straight sets clinching his second Rome Masters. This win extended Djokovics’
winning streak at that time to 39 in a row and was only the second time Nadal had lost a match at the Italian Open.
Video: Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal | ATP Rome 2011
Defending Champion Novak Djokovic lost in the final of the 2012 Italian Open to second seed Rafael Nadal.
At the 2013 Italian Open, Novak Djokovic was knocked out in the quarterfinals by sixth seed Czech Tomas Berdych in three sets. Djokovic took the first set 6-2, but Berdych claimed the next two sets to win the match 6-2, 5-7,4-6.
Novak Djokovic fought his way to the final of the 2014 Italian Open dropping a set in each of his third round, quarterfinal, and semifinal matches. His semi-final against Canadian Milos Raonic had to go to two tie breaks but in the end, Djokovic prevailed setting up a final match with Rafael Nadal. In the final, Nadal took the first set 6-4, Djokovic fought back to take the next two sets securing a 6-4,3-6,3-6 victory and clinching his third Rome Masters title.
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Video: Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal | ATP Rome 2014
Novak Djokovics’ defense of his Rome Masters title at the 2015 Italian Open didn’t get off to a glittering start. He required the maximum of three sets in each of his first three matches to advance past his opponents. But when in the familiar territory of the semifinals he dispatched swiss Stan Wawrinka in 6-4,6-3 straight sets to set up a final with second seed Roger Federer. Djokovic made short work of Federer in the final winning 6-4, 6-3, and clinching his fourth Italian Open title. This was the first time Djokovic had successfully defended his Rome Masters title.
Video: Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer | ATP Rome 2015
In the final match of the 2016 Italian Open, 2nd seed Andy Murray defeated two-time defending champion Djokovic in 6-3,6-3 straight sets. This was the first time Djokovic had lost the final of the Italian Open a player not called Nadal.
Novak Djokovic lost the final match of the 2017 Italian Open to Alexander Zverev in a 4-6,3-6 loss. This was the second year running Djokovic had lost out in the final of the competition.
In the semifinal of the 2018 Italian open, Novak Djokovic lost 7-6,6-3 to eventual Champion Rafael Nadal. His loss at this semifinal led to his dropping out of the top 20 ranked male tennis players for the first time since 2006.
At the 2019 Italian open, Defending Champion Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic
6-0,4-6,6-1 in the final match of the tournament. For the second year in a row, Djokovic had lost to Nadal at the Italian Open.
At the 2020 Italian Open, Novak Djokovic defeated Argentine Diego Schwartzman 7-5,6-3 in the final match of the tournament. Schwartzman had defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the quarterfinals. This victory earned Djokovic his fifth Italian Open mens’ singles title. A laudable achievement second only to Nadals’ haul of Nine titles.
Video: Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwartzman | ATP Rome 2020
At the 2021 Italian Open, Novak Djokovic lost out in the final to Rafael Nadal. This was the sixth time Djokovic had finished as runner-up at the Italian Open. An impressive feat in itself.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal at present holds the record for most Italian open men’s singles titles won with his Ten titles. Djokovic comes second having won six titles at this prestigious clay tournament.
Novak Djokovic emerged victorious in the Rome 2022 championship, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in an enthralling final that concluded with a scoreline of 6-0, 7-6(5). The Serbian’s victory at the Italian Open not only showcased his exceptional skills but also marked him as the oldest Rome champion at 34 years, 11 months, and 23 days.
Djokovic’s journey to the title began with a solid performance against Aslan Karatsev, followed by triumphs over formidable opponents such as Stan Wawrinka, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Casper Ruud. The final against Tsitsipas was a true testament to Djokovic’s resilience and determination.
In front of a packed center court, Djokovic executed a flawless game plan in the first set, completely outplaying the Greek. He later admitted in an on-court interview, “I pleasantly surprised myself I can say. I had a clear game plan and I knew what to expect, so I knew what I had to do, but I did play a perfect first set.”
However, the second set was a more closely contested affair. Tsitsipas made a remarkable comeback, leading 4-1 and pushing the match to the brink of a third set. Djokovic, though, displayed his winning mentality by finding the right shots at the right time, ultimately prevailing in a tight tie-break. He acknowledged the intensity of the second set, saying, “The match could easily have gone to a third set but I managed to find the right shots at the right time to come back into the match. The tie-break I was maybe an inch better, but it was a tight, tight tie-break for both of us.”
|Djokovic – Tsitsipas
|Djokovic – Ruud
|Djokovic – Auger Aliassime
|Djokovic – Wawrinka
|Djokovic – Karatsev