Djokovic: 'I Am Ready' For Roland Garros Challenge
“It definitely gives me a great feeling and boost of confidence for flying into Paris,” said Djokovic, who beat qualifier Alex Molcan in the Belgrade final. “I am thrilled with the way I have been playing this week, very satisfied with the way I have been feeling on the court and striking the ball.
“I am ready. Paris is definitely one of the highest goals of the season and hopefully I will be able to kick start that tournament in the best possible way and work my way deep into the tournament.”
“I feel that from the Rome tournament I have just been striking the ball better, finding my timing, using the court better, moving actually better,” said Djokovic. “Not being a half a step late as I was in Monte Carlo at the beginning of the clay court season.
“I feel like Rome and this tournament have been really important for the confidence and for Roland Garros. I am ready, I’m fit and I’m motivated. I am just very happy with the lead up to Paris.”
Djokovic is in the same quarter of the Roland Garros draw as 2009 champion Roger Federer, and the same half as 13-time titlist Nadal. Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, said this week that he felt that facing Nadal before the final was a positive for the Serbian. But the 34-year-old does not see it as an advantage.
“I don’t know, to be honest,” admitted Djokovic, who faces American Tennys Sandgren in the first round. “I don’t think it makes a significant difference playing him (Rafa) in the semi-final or final. Playing him, whether it is the first round or in the final on clay at Roland Garros, is the highest challenge you can have.
“I did face him many times on centre court at Roland Garros and know how it feels to play him there, but I feel after our match up in Rome that I have a good chance playing him or anybody.”
With more than 5,000 spectators allowed at the tournament each day, Djokovic will hope that this support will help him, as it has done on home soil in Belgrade.
“Playing in front of quite a big crowd today and feeling that energy and support was something I was looking forward to,” said Djokovic. “Winning the [Belgrade] trophy is the best possible farewell for me ahead of Paris.”