Novak Djokovic will go to Roland Garros full of confidence knowing he can go five sets against Rafael Nadal on clay says Marion Bartoli.
Djokovic has had a relatively quiet clay season so far, playing only three tournaments – the Monte-Carlo Masters, Serbia Open and Rome Masters.
After a shock early exit in Monte-Carlo, the Serbian then failed to reach the final in his homeland Belgrade where he was beaten by Aslan Karatsev.
There was a question over how prepared he was going into Rome, however, he pulled off amazing three set wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Lorenzo Sonego before meeting Rafael Nadal in the final.
Although the world number one lost to Nadal, it was another close three set match on a clay surface known to largely favour the Spaniards game.
It appeared to be a different dynamic to the last time the pair met at the 2020 Roland Garros final where Nadal was in formidable form picking up his 13th title and even managing to bagel Djokovic in the first set.
And while there’s a chance the pair could be in the same half of the draw this year with Djokovic as number one seed, and Nadal as third seed, Bartoli says the Serbian will be hoping to avoid the Spaniard, but he’ll be ready.
“I think that Novak will really hope massively that he doesn’t draw obviously, Rafa,” Bartoli told Tennis Majors.
“But I think the final in Rome was very interesting because even though Djokovic had two matches to play the day before, he was still right there and competing a lot better than what he did in the final at Roland Garros a few months back.
And although Djokovic has opted to play a more reduced schedule leading up to the French Open, Bartoli believes that his performance in Rome will have a big impact on his confidence going into Roland Garros.
“I think that was a big signal for him just to see that he has the level and if he goes to a five-setter he is right there with Rafa on clay,” said Bartoli.
“And I think that was for him the main point because obviously skipping Madrid and not arriving with a lot of confidence on clay, and not doing well in Monte Carlo and Belgrade, was really for him a big question mark whether this year he would still be able to play well on clay.
“So I think that [Rome] for him was crucial for his confidence to go to Roland Garros and knowing he can do it.”
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