April 23, 2019

Djokovic eyes French Open final against Nadal as clay begins

17 April 2019, 11:37 | Henrietta Morgan

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Djokovic, victor of the last three Grand Slam titles and dreaming of completing his personal sweep with another trophy at Roland Garros, was stopped in the third round at Indian Wells last month. Eleven times the champion in Monte Carlo, he also will be going for title No. 12 in Barcelona next week and title No. 12 in the French Open at Roland-Garros next month - numbers that hardly seem possible, especially when said out loud.

The Monte-Carlo Masters, one of ATP 1000 tournaments on clay, is underway until Sunday.

This week the Serb, Novak Djokovic is playing the Monte-Carlo Masters 2019 and in the doubles court he will be teaming up with his compatriot, Marko Djokovic. Zverev's older brother Mischa served as the host, interviewing players on site about their experience.

When he won the French Open in 2016, Djokovic arrived in Paris having won the Madrid Masters and reached the final in Rome.

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"It would be definitely better to approach Roland Garros with a win in one of the big other clay-court events prior to the French Open", Djokovic said.

"I had a great last six months of last season, unbelievable start of this year", Djokovic said.

Kohlschreiber beat Djokovic in Indian Wells a month ago and the pair have been drawn to face each other again this afternoon. But I think, personally, people understood why he decided as well to skip the clay-court season past year and I also understand why he wants to play. "I live here. I've used it as a base for the past nearly 15 years", Djokovic said. "But at the same time, I have had great Roland Garros tournaments in the past where I maybe didn't win any of the big ones before".

"He's been playing great tennis lately, winning two out of his last three events (Dubai and Miami with an Indian Wells final against Thiem)". "And I had an awesome start this year". Definitely, for our sport, it's better that he plays.

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When Rafael Nadal begins his clay-court season at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday, he will do so with a few doubts hanging in the air about his fitness, namely whether his ailing knees will be ready for the rigors of the red stuff. Rafa is always the clear favourite on any any court in the world. "He's still there. I mean (it) obviously depends how he's feeling physically".

"I don't see any particular issues for him on this (slow) surface".

"After him, it's quite open", Djokovic said of the contenders on clay.

Djokovic is the top seed, while Nadal returns to Monte Carlo as the No. 2 seed. "He won the last three slams in a row, which is awesome, and I think he also has in his mind that he can beat Rafa anywhere. But at the same time I'll try to look on the positive side", the 31-year-old Djokovic said.

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