It took Novak Djokovic just 70 minutes to dismantle 21-year-old Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 6-2, 6-1, in Rome on Thursday.

“It was a great performance today, I thought,” Djokovic told Prakash Amritraj at the Tennis Channel Desk following his quick work of Davidovich Fokina.

Today’s match was a big contrast to his opening round on Tuesday, where he was pushed by Taylor Fritz. Having been broken while serving for that match, with rain coming down, Djokovic had words with the umpire for not stopping the match sooner.

“I can easily lose that class, you know, as you can see on the court, you know,” he reflected on his behavior toward the umpire. “I get frustrated. I don’t want to say I get frustrated easy, but you know I do have emotions like anybody else.

"I’m a human being so I tend to lose my cool. I’m not proud of that. At times of course I’m ashamed of it. And I don’t have any issue to say I’m sorry and apologize."


"I’m flawed as anybody else": Djokovic stops by TC Desk

"I’m flawed as anybody else": Djokovic stops by TC Desk

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Appearing at the event for the 15th time, Thursday’s victory extended the defending champion’s perfect round-of-16 tournament record to 15-0. Having captured the title five times—in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2020—Djokovic has had his share of very intense battles at the the Foro Italico.

“Rafa on clay, it probably doesn’t get more challenging than that. I think I played the best tennis in the finals with Rafa in ’11, he remembered. “And maybe finals against Roger in ’15. But probably the toughest battle was against Andy Murray in semis of ’11. And that went into tiebreak in the third, I remember.”

Asked if the young guns are close to challenging the top players at Slams, he quickly responded,  “They are doing it already. And Dominic breaking that run we had, the Big 4, winning the Slam in New York last year.

“Let’s see what happens this year. Guys like Tsitsipas, Zverev, Dominic. Obviously these guys are in great form, great shape. Berrettini is playing well. I think they all matured very well.”

The world No. 1, who will be looking for his eighth straight quarterfinal when he meets Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday, strives to be a perfectionist on the court but is well aware that no one is perfect.

“At the end of the day, accept your flaws. I’m flawed as anybody else.”

"I’m flawed as anybody else": Djokovic stops by TC Desk

"I’m flawed as anybody else": Djokovic stops by TC Desk