World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was the Serbia Open in Belgrade last week and now he is hoping to continue his good form at the French Open. “The win in Belgrade gave me great preparation,” Djokovic said, per the ATP website.
“I’m in a good state of mind and body, striking the ball well. Now it’s really about just taking it step by step, being in the present moment [and] trying to build the form so I can play better and better as the tournament progresses”.
Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, could potentially face record 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinal. “When you speak about Rafa, you know that he's always going to give you his best on any surface,” said Djokovic.
“He's always going to produce some great quality tennis, particularly on clay. That's his most preferred surface. That's where he's always at his best. “Record-wise [in the] past four or five matches that I lost to him on clay, some close ones, some that he dominated, was probably due to the level of tennis that I played.
[I] just wasn't meeting his level, when his level on clay is always there, always very high."
Djokovic hasn't had much success against Nadal on clay in recent years
Djokovic, who captured his lone French Open title in 2016, has lost the five encounters against Nadal that were played on clay.
“If you don't produce a high level of performance on this surface, you have no chance to win the match on this surface against him." said Djokovic. "I know there's a build-up potentially for that match-up in the semi-finals.
There are a lot of obstacles to overcome for both of us. If we get there, of course I know what [is] expected [of] me and I know what I need to do. “Last year, I had a great tournament, but in the [Roland Garros] final he was just playing amazing tennis and I couldn't do much.
Hopefully, if I get a chance to play him another time here, the level of my tennis will be different because, like in Rome, for example, [it] was very close until the last shot… [The] final in Rome gives me good sensations and kind of [a] good feeling prior to potential match-up here. But I [will] try to focus [on] one day at a time. I'm sure he will do too”.