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Djokovic still confident for Roland-Garros run despite Rune defeat

Djokovic says he still fancies his chances against anyone when it comes to best-of-five

Novak Djokovic Tennis – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 17, 2023 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter final match against Denmark’s Holger Rune (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Novak Djokovic says he is still expecting a good run at Roland-Garros later this month despite his limited clay-court preparation, with his latest defeat handed out by Holger Rune in the Rome quarter-finals.

Asked in his post-match press conference if he was confident for the French Open, he replied simply: “Yes.”

The current world No 1 has had a restricted clay-court swing, partly due to an elbow issue. In the tournaments he has entered – Monte-Carlo, Banja Luka and Rome – he has a cumulative five match wins and three losses.

But he said he did not need anything more to prepare for Paris.

“I know I can always play better,” he said. “Definitely am looking forward to working on various aspects of my game, of my body, hopefully getting myself in 100% shape. That’s the goal.

“I always like my chances in Grand Slams against anybody on any surface, best-of-five. Let’s see how it goes.”

Djokovic: I’m trying to hang in there with all of the young players

Unsurprisingly he was also questioned about his views on Rune’s generation of youthful rising stars – and he suggested that he relishes the challenge of facing men a decade his junior.

“Alcaraz is No 1 in the world from Monday. Obviously he’s playing amazing tennis. I think it’s also good for our sport that we have new faces, new guys coming up. It’s normal.

“We’ve been saying this for years, that we can expect it to come, that moment to come when you have kind of shift of generations.

“I’m personally still trying to hang in there with all of them. I’m happy with – of course, very happy with – my career so far. I still have the hunger to keep going. Let’s see how far I’m going to play.”

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