Gauthier Delomez (interview by Axel May) / Photo credits: Matthieu Mirville / DPPI via AFP 19:55 p.m., May 31, 2023Before his match of the second round of Roland-Garros scheduled in night session this Wednesday, the former world number one Novak Djokovic confided in the microphone of Europe 1. The Serb talks about his sensations at the Porte d'Auteuil, and in particular looks back on his very first title won on the Parisian clay in 2016. A title he had coveted so much.
In the absence of the legend Rafael Nadal, the spectators of the Porte d'Auteuil have their eyes riveted on his eternal Serbian rival: Novak Djokovic. The former world number one and two-time winner of Roland-Garros (2016, 2021) returns to Paris with the goal of lifting a 23rd Grand Slam title, a record in the men's circuit. Before his second round match on Wednesday, scheduled in the night session against Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, Novak Djokovic spoke to Europe 1, the official radio of Roland-Garros.
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"I received a lot of support from the French public here"
One of the greatest tennis players of all time, with 22 major victories since his victory at the Australian Open, believes that each title is different. "All the Grand Slams are the biggest tournaments in the history of our sport, so they are on the same level, but the sensations are different because the surfaces are different," he first explained on Europe 1, then taking his personal example.
"It depends on the players individually. I feel more comfortable on other surfaces than clay," admits Novak Djokovic, who explains that he played a lot on ochre when he grew up in Serbia. "I have more luck, more opportunities, to win another Grand Slam on another surface," he agrees, "but in Paris, I feel good," said the Serb. "I've received a lot of support from the French public here in my career."
Winning Roland Garros, "it was something I wanted a lot"
Novak Djokovic remembers his first title won on the Parisian clay, in 2016, which allowed him to complete his collection of Major titles. "The first time, it was really something I wanted very, very much. I was really struggling to get past the last stage. For several years, I didn't see success because Nadal stopped me many times here," said the former world No. 1.
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"The first time, when I won Roland-Garros, you can say that it was one of the three most beautiful sensations I remember," smiled the current world number 3, who recalls that day of June 5, 2016: "I see my life and my career because it was the only Grand Slam I had not won until that moment." To put his name back on the list of winners of the France Open, Novak Djokovic will probably have to cross the road of the Spanish phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz, one of the main favorites of the tournament and is all found Rafael Nadal.