Novak Djokovic ready for ‘ultimate test’ of facing Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal press conference

Novak Djokovic says that beating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is the “ultimate challenge” in tennis ahead of the European clay court season.

The tour starts its annual stint on Europe’s red dirt this week in Monte Carlo, with the French Open the big prize at its conclusion.

It’s a stage of the season that is usually utterly dominated by ‘King of Clay’ Nadal, and Djokovic sees no reason to expect anything different this season.

“Beating Rafa in Roland Garros would be and is one of the ultimate challenges of this sport, as is winning against Roger (Federer) in Wimbledon.

“I have been fortunate enough to experience both, so it is quite a special feeling because they have dominated those surfaces so much in their careers.”

Before we get to Rolland Garros, however, there are big tournaments at Monte Carlo, Madrid, and Rome to come through, and they will command the world number one’s focus for the moment.

“It would be definitely better to approach Roland Garros with a win in one of the big three clay court events prior to the French Open,” he added.

“But at the same time I had great Roland Garros tournaments in the past where I maybe didn’t win any of the big ones before.

“So, (it) doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to affect completely my state of mind approaching Roland Garros, but it would definitely serve the confidence better if I have one coming into Paris.”

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