Novak Djokovic says his Rome Masters final defeat has given him renewed hope for his chances of winning Roland Garros this year.
Djokovic and Nadal played three brilliant sets of tennis in the Italian capital last week, with Nadal eventually battling to a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win.
Nadal will once again be the man to beat at the French Open this summer, where he will be chasing a 14th Roland Garros crown and a record 21st Grand Slam title.
Djokovic is also chasing history, though, with him aiming to become the first man to win multiple titles at all four majors.
And, despite his defeat to Nadal on Sunday, Djokovic believes he has given himself ‘a good chance to go all the way’ in Paris.
“I was happy to play him, because of the fine-tuning for Roland Garros,” Djokovic said. “It doesn’t get bigger of a challenge on clay than playing Rafa in finals.
“I could have easily went out from this tournament in quarters. I’m very pleased with my fighting spirit. The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually. Yesterday I played great.
“Today I thought I also played a high level. Unfortunately, decisive moments in the first and third sets just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate.
“[We played] almost three hours of high-quality tennis. 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, [it] 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. Of course, it’s a long shot.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?