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Novak Djokovic reaches the Belgrade Open final with a victory over qualifier Andrej Martin.

Djokovic On Loaded Roland Garros Draw: ‘It’s Going To Be A Great Thrill’

Serbian eyes historic second Grand Slam crown in Paris

After reaching his third ATP Tour final of the year at the Belgrade Open, Novak Djokovic told press that he feels ‘very close’ to the level he is looking for ahead of Roland Garros.

That will be just what the World No. 1 will need, as the year’s second Grand Slam unveiled a loaded draw that saw Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer land in Djokovic’s half. The top seed could face defending champion Nadal in the semi-finals, and eyes a potential meeting with Federer as early as the quarter-finals.

“I saw the draw,” Djokovic said with a wry chuckle in his post-match press conference. “It’s the first time, I think ever, where Roger, Rafa and myself are in the same half of the draw in any Grand Slam. “It’s going to be very interesting for sure. Only one of us can make the final. I’m going to obviously do my best to be that guy who reaches the final match.”

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The top seed in Belgrade cruised into the semi-finals at his home event without dropping a set, but was pushed to a decider by qualifier Andrej Martin. Djokovic regrouped emphatically to secure a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 victory to reach his first final on home soil since 2011. 

“I take out the positives from this match,” Djokovic said. “I think I played very well in the first and the third sets. It’s very important for me to finish the match in that kind of tempo and that kind of rhythm, that kind of sensation. I feel like this will give me confidence not only for tomorrow’s final but also Roland Garros."

“I’ve been building my form, and performance-wise I’ve been playing very close to where I want to be for Roland Garros,” he added. “I’m not concerned about anything, except for those few games and few letdowns that I had today. That should not happen tomorrow or in Paris, but if they happen they happen. What can you do? It’s one of these things that you have to deal with as a tennis player. It’s important to bounce back, which I’ve done in the right way.”

Djokovic, who begins his Roland Garros campaign against the big-serving Tennys Sandgren, will be seeking his second Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy next week in Paris. A victory would make him the first man in the Open Era to win every Grand Slam championship twice.

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“You have to take it step by step,” he said. “You play every second day, and I have [as much] experience as Roger and Rafa, of course. We’ve been on the Tour many, many years and we know how to deal with these situations.

“If it comes to the possible match-up between me and Roger in the quarter-finals, of course it’s going to be a great thrill and a great challenge to play him. But it’s still a long way to go to that possible matchup.”

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