After conquering the title at the Masters tournament in Rome, Novak Djokovic is hopeful about his chances at Roland Garros.
The Serbian naturally pushes Rafael Nadal forward as the title favorite, but thinks the Spaniard is not unbeatable in Paris.
Where Djokovic reached the final in Rome and won the tournament, Nadal surprisingly stranded in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
The veteran Spaniard, who played an ATP game for the first time since February, lost on his favorite surface to losing finalist Diego Schwartzman.
"Diego has shown that Nadal can be beaten on clay," said Djokovic on Monday evening after his final win.
"The circumstances were not in favor of Nadal, but it could be in Paris. Nadal is the top favorite, but there are players who can beat him at Roland Garros."
Yet Djokovic also realizes that he has less chance than Nadal, who has already won the Grand Slam tournament in Paris twelve times.
"I think a lot of people will still agree that he is the absolute top favorite. If you look at the results that Nadal has achieved in Paris in the past, you cannot put anyone above that."
Novak Djokovic won the Masters tournament in Rome. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Novak Djokovic won the Masters tournament in Rome.
(Photo: Pro Shots)
'Have gained the necessary confidence'
33-year-old Djokovic picked up the thread again last week in Rome after his bizarre elimination at the US Open in early September.
The number one in the world hit a ball against the line judge in the eighth finals and was disqualified.
Apart from the US Open, Djokovic has won all the tournaments he participated in so far this season - ATP Cup with Serbia, the Australian Open, the Dubai hard court tournament and the Masters tournaments in Cincinnati and Rome - so he will soon be aiming for the second Roland Garros title of his career.
"I can hardly hope that Rafa will not be in the final", Djokovic said with a laugh.
"I have to hope that I can make it to the final battle myself and can fight for the title. The feeling is good and in Rome I have gained the necessary confidence that is needed for a Grand Slam tournament."
Roland Garros starts on Sunday, September 27.
Nadal won the last three editions of the biggest clay court tournament of the year, while Djokovic only triumphed in Paris in 2016.
Roger Federer is recovering from knee surgery and is not participating.