Home Tennis Novak Djokovic wants to play more, find form before French Open

Novak Djokovic wants to play more, find form before French Open

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Novak Djokovic is hoping to get a few matches under his belt at this week’s Geneva Open ahead of his title defense at Roland Garros.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion’s preparations for the French Open have been far from ideal, beginning with a loss to Casper Ruud in the Monte Carlo semifinals. He then opted to skip the Madrid Open before losing in the third round of the Italian Open, two days after he was hit on the head by a fan’s water bottle while signing autographs.

The top-ranked Serbian, who said he felt out of sorts during his 6-2, 6-3 loss to Alejandro Tabilo, told reporters Tuesday: “The head is good. All is well. I’ve trained for over a week, and I’m feeling fine.

“I’ve dedicated quite a bit of time with my new fitness coach to build the endurance, to build physical strength and capabilities that I need in order to play a best-of-five Grand Slam on the physically most demanding surface, which is clay.

“So hopefully I’m going to get more than one match here in Geneva. That’s the goal, and then let’s see what happens in Paris.”

Djokovic last played a tournament in Switzerland in October 2011, losing in Basel to Kei Nishikori in the semifinals of Roger Federer’s hometown event. Djokovic had beaten Federer in the two previous Basel finals.

He is still without a title this year — the first time he has reached May without a trophy since 2018, when he was returning from a right elbow injury.

In his first match in Geneva on Wednesday, Djokovic will face German Yannick Hanfmann, who beat three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in the first round.

“The reason why I chose to come and play is because I feel like, at this moment, there is no better practice for me than match play,” said Djokovic, who turned 37 on Wednesday. “I feel like I need more matches, even if it’s one match, two matches, three, four hopefully. It’s good for me, because that’s the way for me to try to find that kind of form that I need for Roland Garros.”

The French Open starts Sunday.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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