sport

Djokovic fit for Rome return

Novak Djokovic is ready to return from his wrist injury at this week's Italian Open in Rome.

Djokovic has been absent since losing to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last month, when his wrist was heavily strapped and he struggled to serve and return at his normal levels.

But the Serb said his wrist had been pain free for nearly two weeks and he came through a lengthy Sunday practice session alongside Stanislas Wawrinka on the Foro Italico's spectacular Pietrangeli court, which is lined with neo-classical statues.

"Right now I feel much more confident at the state of my wrist and I know that I'm ready much more to play a match than I was one week ago," Djokovic said.

"It's a wiser decision if you try to heal it 100 percent than 50 percent and compromise the next weeks.

"The second time that it comes back it becomes a chronic injury, which you definitely don't want to have. From now on I will be extra careful about my wrist."

Djokovic opens up with a clash against Radek Stepanek and hopes to have both his coaches in place - long-time adviser Marian Vajda and Boris Becker, who joined his staff in December.

"Boris is here. And we're trying to see if we can get Marian here, because they're both going to be present in Paris," Djokovic added.

"(Vajda) understands and knows me really well and he can help Boris to get more efficient in that transition to cooperating well with me on the court. That's why I'm trying to get them to be together."

Isner exit

The tournament got under way on Sunday and ninth seed John Isner promptly crashed out in the first round.

Isner went down 7-6 (9/7) 6-3 to Austrian Jurgen Melzer, while the only other seed in action - Tommy Robredo (16) - saw off Argentina's Juan Monaco 7-6 (7/3) 6-4.