Ahead of his tournament opener in Belgrade, Novak Djokovic spoke about a number of topics, including the changes to his preparation due to a lack of matches this year and his goals for the rest of the clay season.
The Serb said he has amped up the number of practice sessions to make up for the lack of match play and
revealed that he hopes to hit his stride ahead of the French Open
Novak Djokovic crashed out of the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters after an early loss to Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Since Djokovic is unvaccinated against COVID-19, his season has been fraught with uncertainty. The Serb was unable to compete in competitions in Australia and the United States. Djokovic has only played in two tournaments this year, losing to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of Dubai and Davidovich Fokina in the second round of Monte-Carlo.
However, the Serb remains motivated, excited and eager to play more matches during the clay season.
I'm excited. I need more matches to get to the desired level of tennis. I had four workouts yesterday - two fitness and two tennis - I was a little tired. I use every free moment to prepare myself as physically as possible. This is especially important for clay," Djokovic said.
Djokovic also spoke about the disappointment of losing his opening match at the Monte-Carlo Masters and how he wasn't physically prepared for the event.
"I wasn't ready in Monte-Carlo, I was aware of that, but I still miss matches the most. I hope to have more matches than in Monte-Carlo. Roland Garros is the biggest goal on this surface, I want to be the most ready there. That does not change my approach to this tournament, I want to go as far as possible, and the title is always an ambition," Djokovic said.
"We try to ensure that players have all the conditions - gyms, courts, accommodation, food" - Novak Djokovic on the Serbia Open
During the press conference, Novak Djokovic also spoke about the conditions at the Serbia Open and how he hopes the tournament can be upgraded to an ATP 500 event in the future.
"We learn from previous experience, we know what everyone needs to make the experience as good as possible. We try to ensure that players have all the conditions - gyms, courts, accommodation, food… We want to buy a tournament permit first, at the moment we are just renting it. When that happens, we can think about becoming a stronger tournament, from the 500 series," he added.
Currently an ATP 250 and WTA 250 tournament, Matteo Berrettini and Paula Badosa are the defending champions at the event.
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