It’s a ‘long shot’, but Novak Djokovic feels he has a ‘good chance to go all the way’ at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic looking ahead

He is disappointed not have won the Italian Open, but Novak Djokovic says his performances in Rome have given in a “good sensation” ahead of Roland Garros.

The world No 1 took on his great rival Rafael Nadal in their 57th meeting on the ATP Tour and, after fighting back after losing the first set, Djokovic came up short in the decider as the Spaniard won 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 to secure a 10th title in the Italian city.

Although he didn’t get the trophy, the 18 time Grand Slam winner says his high levels the past week, which saw him save a match point against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-final and follow it up with a three-set win over Lorenzo Sonego in the semi-final, gives him confidence ahead of the French Open.

“[We played] almost three hours of high-quality tennis,” he said. “Of course I’m disappointed not to win it, but at the same time I’m very pleased with the level of tennis that I managed to find in the later stages of this tournament.

“Going into Paris brings me good sensation. I actually now [am starting] to feel like I actually want to feel on clay. So I think if I manage to play the way I played last night and today, I think I have a good chance to go all the way in Paris.”

He added: “Of course it’s a long shot.”

The 33-year-old will take a breather from competitive tennis this week before switching focus to the Belgrade Open next week with the clay-court season culminating in the French Open the week after.

“I’m going to rest as much as I can, because I had enough time with the racket on the court. So I’m just going to rejuvenate, regroup, and then start training again some days before the start of the Belgrade Open,” he said.

“I’m hoping I can go all the way there, playing at home. Most likely we are going to see the crowd in the stands, so that’s going to be fantastic to feed off that energy, to go to Paris with good feelings on the court, off the court, spend some time with the family additionally, which I wouldn’t get if I go earlier to Paris.

“I have to obviously keep the momentum going I feel with the quality of tennis. Do more training, of course, and [play a] few more matches. I think I’m on the right way. Actually, the past couple days really gave me the confidence boost for the clay. I found the game. So now I just have to maintain that level and peak in Paris.”

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