Novak Djokovic declares winning Roland Garros title ‘the hardest of any Slam for me’
Novak Djokovic has made the admission that Roland Garros is the most difficult Major for him to win as he looks to add a third title there to his collection this week.
The world number one has been in stunning form en route to the Roland Garros quarter-finals, moving into the last eight without dropping a set.
On Sunday, Djokovic claimed his quarter-final berth after thrashing clay-court specialist Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
He has now won 11 matches in a row at Roland Garros stretching back to the start of the 2021 event.
Now, he has set up a highly-anticipated clash against 13-time champion Rafael Nadal.
However, Djokovic knows that there is still a long way to go if he is to claim a third Coupe des Mousquetaires.
On his 12th appearance Djokovic eventually claimed his first Roland Garros crown back in 2016, defeating Andy Murray in the final before adding a second last year.
Speaking after his last 16 clash against Schwartzman, the Serb reflected on his past title wins and discussed how difficult it had been for him to be successful in the French capital.
Djokovic said in his post-match press conference: “It took me years and years to win the title here.
“Of course I had some big heartbreaks on the court here, many finals lost and semi-finals.
“Thrilling marathon matches, mostly against Rafa prior to 2016.
“Of course it was very special, very emotional to clinch that title in ’16.
“It was a huge relief more than anything, really.”
While Djokovic then went five years without another title on Court Philippe-Chatrier, he was certainly still consistent.
He reached two quarter-finals before a semi-final and final ahead of his 2021 campaign.
Djokovic continued: “[After 2016], I was still continuing to play consistently well here.
“Then luckily I got another title last year.
“Somehow, winning a title here is always probably the hardest of any Slam for me.
“Last year the second week that I had here was just probably the toughest four matches, toughest seven days I had to win any Slam in my career.”
Djokovic is also in a battle to retain his number one spot in the ATP rankings this week.
Should he win the title, he will remain in top spot on 6th June.
He would also stay there from 13th June if he wins the tournament and Daniil Medvedev does not reach the final.
When discussing the world number one spot, Djokovic told reporters: “I have been blessed to be world number one so many weeks throughout my career.
“That was always the highest goal at the beginning of every season.
“Particularly being in the era with [Roger] Federer, Nadal, the guys that are greats of the game.
“So of course that makes the success even bigger.
“On the other hand, the downside of being world number one is that you are always being chased by everyone else.
“[They want] to dethrone you and want to win against you in every single match regardless of the size or category of the tournament.”
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