Novak Djokovic admits he’s disappointed with Rafael Nadal’s absence and not ready for French Open

Novak Djokovic will be the first to admit his preparation for the French Open has been far from ideal, but he plans to change that pattern when he arrives in Paris this week.

After a successful return to the Australian Open, where he won the title a year after being banned from the country due to his vaccination status, Djokovic’s season stalled rather than took off.

Following his victory in Melbourne, Djokovic was defeated in straight sets by Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships. While that was no embarrassment, the Serbian saw his visa application rejected by US authorities in the same month, causing him to miss both the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Masters.


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Following this, Djokovic suffered a disappointing loss to Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the third round at his 'home’ tournament in Monaco. The Srpska Open in Bosnia and Herzegovina saw a similarly poor result. In the quarterfinals, fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic beat Djokovic in straight sets.

A troublesome elbow injury forced him out of the Madrid Open, and Djokovic lost to Dane Holger Rooney in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open. Rooney lost to Medvedev in the final.

Asked about his spotty approach to the French Open, Djokovic was confident: „I know how to manage myself and my team, how to look after myself. I didn’t have a great preparation before Roland-Carros. But, you know, Roland-Carros is where I need to peak.” Always say. So that’s what I’m aiming for, and hopefully I’ll come alive and come back here to reality.”

Having previously won the title twice in Paris in 2016 and 2021, Djokovic knows what it takes to win.

He said: „I think the Grand Slams are a completely different ball game as they like to say, or actually it’s a different game because it’s, you know, best played in five. I think. The importance of this event in the history of our game, it adds a little bit more pressure. , which adds a little more motivation. So I’m ready to give it my all, as always.”

The Serbian admitted that he is aiming for a third French Open title: „I think the experience will help me and help me achieve another title. But, you know, we have to do things step by step. One match at a time.”

He will face world No. 3 Aleksandar Kovacevic in the first round at Roland-Carros. Kovacevic is making his first Grand Slam appearance.

But Djokovic didn’t think much of Kovacevic. Instead, he has his eye on a player who isn’t there, Rafael Nadal.

Nadal’s absence is a huge disappointment for Djokovic.

When asked if the legendary Spaniard is the player he would most like to face, Djokovic agreed.

He said: „I think, look, like I said, he’s, you know, a big loss for the tournament and for tennis because he’s a great champion.”

Djokovic is not immune to the feeling that Nadal’s absence improves his own chances in Paris.

He continued: „When I heard the news, it’s a great opportunity for me and the other guys to win the title. But at the same time, you’re right, you want to beat the best players in the world. , here too, the most dominant player on the way to the title.”

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Having missed the tournament for the first time since 2005, Nadal’s absence left Djokovic in a contemplative mood.

He explained: „At the same time, it, you know, it surprised me and made me question myself, and where, where is the end of my career, and how, so, you know, we’re all because of his injuries and everything, and of course, the way he played on tour. I knew it could be just around the corner due to age and the amount of years.

„But still, when he announced that his, next season would be his last, it was still a shock, you know, to me, so I had, you know, internal conversations with me.”


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