Novak Djokovic reveals ball bouncing superstition after starting French Open with a win

French Open
A smiling Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic conceded he ‘has a problem’ with his ball bouncing habit, as he revealed he used to follow a curious routine as he used to have a different bounce count for each side of the court.

Djokovic eased into the second round of the French Open with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Tennys Sandgren, to set up a second-round clash against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.

The world No 1 was playing his first-night session match and wasted little time getting back into the locker room, dragging American Sandgren all around Court Philippe Chatrier to seal a comfortable win.

He then took part in an entertaining interview with Eurosport and as he responded to questions from former world No 1 Mats Wilander about his ball bouncing habit before he serves, the Serbian revealed he has improved from the days when he had to bounce for an even number of times on the duce side of the court and uneven on the other side.

Djokovic has shown some frustration when asked by the media about his ball bouncing prior to serving in the past, but he seemed much more engaged in the discussion this time.

The Serb then appeared virtually in the Eurosport Cube and had some fun with Mats Wilander and Barbara Schett discussing serving rituals and superstitions.

“I don’t decide how many times I’m going to bounce the ball,” Djokovic explained of his service routines when asked by Wilander.

“I know it’s annoying for a lot of people and sometimes it’s annoying for me – I wish I could bounce it less and just get into the rhythm but sometimes, especially if it’s a tough moment and I’m a little bit tight and under pressure, I might bounce it a bit more.

“I just kind of wait until the right time to toss the ball and to have the right tempo in the movement from the very first step, the swing. I don’t know what else to tell you, there is no particular number.

“Ten-plus years ago on the deuce side I would always end my bounces with an even number and advantage uneven. It is not the case any more – I have a little bit of an issue!”

Asked by Schett if he had a secret tell with going down the T with lots of bounces and out wide with fewer bounces, Djokovic joked with his response.

“I actually did not know that; I will pay attention. I will make sure I notice it next time. Stop giving away my secrets!”

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