Djokovic: “If you talk about favorites on clay, Nadal is always on top”

20 May 2022, France, Paris: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic takes part in a training session at the Roland-Garros stadium ahead of his first match during the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament.  Photo: Matthieu Mirville/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa Matthieu Mirville/ZUMA Press Wir / DPA 05/20/2022 ONLY FOR USE IN SPAIN

Novak Djokovic will revive his title defense at Roland Garros for the second time in his career on Monday. He was champion in 2016 and was again last year, after beating Rafa Nadal in the semifinals. In 2022, the two go on the same side of the table in the French Grand Slam, a diabolical sector that Carlos Alcaraz will also travel through. There are the three big favorites to win the title. The Serbian is the first to recognize it.

Picture: “Yeah, I had a look at the draw. I think every player always looks at the whole draw and studies it in some way. You can only focus on your next challenge and match. And of course it’s a very tough top half in the men’s draw. , but it’s something you can’t really influence. It is what it is. My thoughts are on starting the tournament well against Nishioka and then going from there.”

Current champion, against Nadal and Alcaraz: “If we talk about favorites for Roland Garros and clay courts, Nadal always has to be at the top, because of his records, particularly in this tournament. And then you have Alcaraz, who is obviously the history of men’s tennis in the last four or five months with great arguments. He’s had some tremendous leaps forward in the rankings and the results he’s been achieving are phenomenal for someone his age. He’s made a quantum leap forward in the last five, six months. I feel like I’ve always I am in that contention to fight for any Grand Slam trophy. I believe in my own abilities to go far and fight for one of the most prestigious trophies in the world of tennis. As the defending champion, of course, moreover, I believe that I can do it new. Reliving the memories of last year is something that gives me goosebumps and gives me motivation to try to replicate that. But every season and every year is different. There are so many players who want to get their hands on that trophy in a couple of weeks… I’m well aware of that. I think the experience of being on the circuit for so long helps to know how to expend energy on the court match after match, bring out the right intensity, manage everything that happens outside and reach the peak of form at the right time, so to speak. . At the best of five sets, things are different. The Grand Slam I think arouses a lot of motivation and emotions in a tennis player. It is the dream of many to win one. That’s why you can’t underestimate anyone and probably don’t compare the performances of those players in any other tournament with the potential performance here in a Slam. So knowing that, that’s my approach to the players, the game and the tournament, albeit believing in myself because I’ve done it before and I know what it takes, so I’m excited to have another great year. “.

The earth: “This surface is the most demanding in several aspects. First, physically. You should always expect that you are going to play a shot or two more than any other surface, due to the nature of clay. It is slow and requires a lot of mental, emotional and physical. All the players know that. So they adjust their training regimen in the clay season. I think there’s a lot of endurance interval training, trying to play more. And I can’t speak for the other players, but for me in particular has historically always required some time and several tournaments to get really comfortable playing on clay. I rarely felt my best in the first or second tournament of the season. So that was the case this season again. It took me two tournaments to feel like I’m getting closer to the desired level. I got to that level in Rome, where I didn’t lose a set and won the tournament. Rome has been a very successful tournament for me in my career, and I really got to that level. gue at the right time. I always managed to get to the latter stages of that tournament just the week before Paris, the perfect time to really find my form. That is my case. Some other players maybe feel more natural on clay and maybe get to the desired level quicker.”

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