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Djokovic: Hopefully I can build from here

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Originally published on: 29/05/13 00:00

Djokovic produced a solid performance to kick-start his bid for a maiden French Open crown, defeating the Belgian world No.58 7-6(5) 6-4 7-5 after a lengthy delay before the start of play.

“I think I warmed up five or six times,” said Djokovic, who didn’t get on court until late afternoon as a result of rain delays. “It was a difficult day because we had been waiting for hours and hours. Conditions were quite tricky but it was the same adjustment for me and my opponent.”

Djokovic, who hasn’t fallen in the first round of a Grand Slam since the 2006 Australian Open when he lost to Paul Goldstein of the US, said he needed to adjust his tactics because of the damp weather.

“It is quite different than when it’s dry and sunny,” said the 26-year-old. “Heavy balls, bad bounces and it’s quite cold so you need to step into the court and try to hit the ball. I needed to fight all the way through every set and I served well when I needed to and played my best tennis when it was most important.

“You can’t expect that the top players [are] always going to win the opening rounds of a Grand Slam and giving five [or] six games to an opponent in three sets it’s not possible, you know. There are players who are extra motivated and very talented and going with the mindset of nothing to lose on the court.

“For the first match it was a great challenge for me and I overcame it. I’m really happy and hopefully I can build from there.”

Next up for the six-time major champion is Argentine Guido Pella, who beat Ivan Dodig in five sets in his opening match.

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