Novak Djokovic reveals the ‘biggest favourite’ for Roland Garros
Novak Djokovic has discussed his main rivals for the Roland Garros title this year, as he also updated fans on his fitness issues that have played part in his poor clay court season so far.
Djokovic returns to the tournament that he has won on two previous occasions, in 2016 and 2021, and spoke to the press about how he was feeling coming into the second major of the year.
“Well, it’s no secret that one of the main reasons I play today and compete in professional tennis is to try to break more records and make more history in tennis,” explained Djokovic. “That’s extremely motivating and inspiring for me.”
The 22-time Grand Slam champion continued, “But as I said, at the same time, you know, things are different than they were 10 years ago in terms of how my body is maybe responding to the schedule. You know, I’m playing season after season. So early in the year I was saying that I put emphasis and priority on the Grand Slams, so I’m feeling good at the moment.”
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Despite appearing to be hampered by his elbow in lead up events to Roland Garros, Djokovic reassured fans that he was not worried about any ‘physical issues’.
“I don’t have any physical issues that worry me. So that’s most important for me. You know, I want to feel good coming into a Grand Slam.” claimed the Serb.
Djokovic admitted that he was confident heading into the Paris major, but also gave credit to his potential rivals to the title including Carlos Alcaraz, who he admitted was ‘probably the biggest favourite’ following 14-time champion Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from the tournament.
“So part of me is, of course, you know, confident and always aspires to win Grand Slams and biggest titles in this sport, but I also have to be humble about the fact that things are a bit different, you know, with the way I’m feeling on the court month after month, you know. The beating is harder than it was before, physically,” explained the No.3.
“Yeah, you have big names, of course, like Alcaraz, he’s No. 1 in the world, and probably the biggest favorite in the tournament. You know, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas and [Daniil] Medvedev, they have started playing great on clay. And [Holger] Rune, [Casper] Ruud, [Alexander] Zverev, knows how to play big events, can always do damage against anybody.”
Djokovic added, “So I think the tournament is quite open, to be honest. Maybe a few guys that are at the top of the favorites list, but anyone can take it. I’m hoping it can be me.”
The 36-year-old will begin his campaign for a record 23rd Grand Slam tomorrow, when he plays American Aleksandar Kovacevic who has never played in the main draw of a major tournament before.
Novak Djokovic on clay in 2023
Djokovic is the only person to beat Rafael Nadal more than once at Roland Garros, but he has not fared well on the dirt so far this season by his standards.
Here are the Serb’s results on clay so far this year:
Novak Djokovic’s clay win-loss record in 2023: 5-3 (62.5%)
- Djokovic beat Ivan Gakhov, 7-6(5) 6-2
- Lorenzo Musetti beat Djokovic, 4-6 7-5 6-4
- Djokovic beat Luca Van Assche, 6(4)-7 6-3 6-2
- Dusan Lajovic beat Djokovic, 6-4 7-6(6)
- Djokovic beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 7-6(5) 6-2
- Djokovic beat Grigor Dimitrov, 6-3 4-6 6-1
- Djokovic beat Cameron Norrie, 6-3 6-4
- Holger Rune beat Djokovic, 6-2 4-6 6-2
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