(Paris) Novak Djokovic, 3rd in the world in search of the record of 23 Grand Slam men’s titles at Roland-Garros, quietly warmed up on Monday by beating the American Aleksandar Kovacevic (114th) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1).

” I am happy. I started the tournament well and hopefully I can raise my level,” commented Djokovic, noting that it was “not easy to find the rhythm” due to the strong wind.

“I played the first two sets well, then I lost a bit of concentration, but he raised his level of play. In Grand Slams, the opponent does not give you the victory, you have to deserve it”, he added, speaking in French in front of the Central audience.

The 36-year-old Serb, who is with Carlos Alcaraz (N.1) one of the two main favorites in the absence of Rafael Nadal, will face the Hungarian colossus Marton Fucsovics (83rd) in the second round.

In 19 Major appearances on clay, Djokovic has never lost in the first round and, since 2010, he has always reached at least the quarter-finals, winning the title twice, in 2016 and 2021.

He now totals 86 victories at Roland-Garros where only the master of the place Nadal, titled 14 times, has done better (112).

On the Philippe-Chatrier court flooded with sunshine, but swept by the wind, Djokovic took a few games to find his marks.

But from 2-2 in the first set, he appeared clearly above his opponent: he won nine of the next eleven games to lead 5-1 in the second set and close it quietly.

In the third set, however, he was less incisive and even conceded his serve for the first time in the game, on an unforced error, to allow Kovacevic to unbreak and come back to 3-3.

But the American, who was playing for the first time at 24 in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, lost his face-off in stride allowing his youth idol to serve for the match a little later.

Against all odds, Djokovic again lost his service game and was forced into a tiebreak. A tie break in which he was intractable.