The ATP circuit got past its first half of the clay swing of 2017. Having all the big clay events going down into Rafael Nadal's pocket, the rest of competitors would have to use the next stop as best as they can. The french open is now less than weeks ahead and for Novak Djokovic, the defending champion in Paris, things are far from being right.

The lack of results saw his ranking constantly plunging following the peak from 2016. Djokovic might want to use the event in Rome as a final reset bottom before the stakes get even higher. A top seed in Italy, the Serb received a bye for the first round and will play against Aljaz Bedene (55 ATP).

Djokovic has a difficult trajectory with Rafael Nadal looming ahead

The draw puts Novak Djokovic in the bottom half of the board. He shares quarter with Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin del Potro and Kyle Edmund each one of them being anything but an easy opponent. Nishikori seems to have recovered from the injury he suffered in Madrid where he was scheduled to face Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Edmund showed some promising signs earlier this spring while competing in

Edmund showed some promising signs earlier this spring while competing in Monte-Carlo and now might he the right moment to pull the trigger of his great potential. And there is del Potro who is making a warm-up event before the French Open.

The Argentine who has been struggling lately with results is that kind of player any top seed might wanna avoid. For Djokovic, these are clear signs of some potentially gruelling battles looming ahead. Djokovic could collide with the Argentine star or Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals. And of course, if the Serb will overcome these upcoming tests, he might face Rafael Nadal in the semis.

With Nadal looking so impressive during this clay court swing, Djokovic might face the ultimate challenge confronting the Spaniard.

For Djokovic, these are clear signs of some potentially gruelling battles looming ahead. Djokovic could collide with the Argentine star or Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals.

And of course, if the Serb will overcome these upcoming tests, he might face Rafael Nadal in the semis. With Nadal looking so impressive during this clay court swing, Djokovic might face the ultimate challenge confronting the Spaniard.

The Serb is having one of the worst seasons

Having won a single ATP title this year, Novak Djokovic reached a certain level of vulnerability than ever before. And that is one of the reasons of why his opponents are pushing the Serb to the edge on a daily basis. Once the invincibility aura dismantled, so did the Serb's empire. His win/loss ratio of 2017 is now 16-5 which might be acceptable for a top 20 player.

For a guy who pushed the professional circuit into unknown territories over the last couple of years is loose change but the season is far from being over.

Djokovic could reset his year during the grass court session or the hardcourt but there it might be Federer to jeopardise his goals.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!