Watch: Special celebrations for Novak Djokovic at French Open on his 35th birthday

Novak Djokovic celebrates his birthday at the French Open
Novak Djokovic celebrates his birthday at the French Open

Birthday boy Novak Djokovic was in for a sweet surprise at Roland Garros on Sunday. The World No. 1 celebrated his 35th birthday with a big cake and a unique birthday present gifted by the organizers.

In a video posted by Roland Garros on social media, Djokovic can be seen posing for celebratory photos with tournament director Amelie Mauresmo, among others. He was then handed his present, a kick scooter, which added an element of fun to the celebrations.

Fans flooded social media with wishes for the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Among the wishes on his 35th birthday was a special one from former pro and women's tennis legend Billie Jean King. Her tweet drew a response from Djokovic.

"Happy birthday to 20x Grand Slam men’s singles champion with 1,000 ATP match wins, World No. 1, @DjokerNole!" King wrote in a post.

The Serb took the opportunity to thank all his well-wishers.

"Thank you for the bday wishes!! Big hugs to everyone!" he tweeted.

On the eve of his birthday, the World No. 1 practiced with Karen Khachanov who, coincidentally, celebrated his 26th birthday.

Djokovic's 35th birthday came a day prior to the start of his campaign at the 2022 French Open. The top seed will play Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in a night-session match on Monday as his quest begins for a record-equalling 21st Grand Slam title.

He is currently riding a wave of confidence after winning the Italian Open just a week ago, without dropping a set.

"I feel I am always in contention to fight for any Grand Slam trophy" - Novak Djokovic

2021 French Open - Day 15
2021 French Open - Day 15

Novak Djokovic is well aware of the two biggest challengers to his bid to defend his French Open title -- Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. The Serb has been drawn in the same quarter as Nadal and the same half as Alcaraz. So in all liklihood, he will have to beat both players if he is to win his 21st Major in Paris.

The World No. 1, however, is confident in his ability and said he has fond memories of last year's incredible run, which gives him "goosebumps and motivation."

"I feel I am always in that contention to fight for any Grand Slam trophy," he said during one of his pre-tournament pressers. "I believe in my own abilities to get far and to fight for, you know, one of the most prestigious trophies in the world of tennis."
"As a defending champion of course more so, to believe I can do it again," he continued. "Reliving the memories from last year is something that obviously gives me goosebumps and motivation to try to replicate that, if I can say that."

If he does end up winning the title in Paris, the Serb will become just the second man after Nadal to defend his French Open crown in the last 21 years.

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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