Paris [France], May 28 (ANI): Novak Djokovic arrives at French Open 2023 chasing history and if the Serbian triumphs in Paris, he will clinch a record 23rd Grand Slam trophy, overtaking Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic is relishing the opportunity to set another record when he takes to court at the clay-court major.
"It's no secret that one of the main reasons I play today and compete in professional tennis is to try to break more records and make more history in tennis. That's extremely motivating and inspiring for me... History being on the line is something that is very flattering and is very motivating, no doubt about it," Djokovic said in his pre-tournament press conference.
The third seed Djokovic arrives in Pairs holding a 5-3 record on clay this season. The 36-year-old suffered a defeat in the third-round of the Monte-Carlo Masters before he lost against Holger Rune at the quarter-final stage of Italian Open in Rome. He also missed Madrid Open due to injury.
However the two-time champion is confident that he can produced his best performance in Paris despite recent setbacks.
"I don't have any physical issues that worry me. So that's most important for me. I want to feel good coming into a Grand Slam... I know how to approach the Grand Slam. I know how to live during these few weeks, in a way day in and day out, and I hope that I'll have a few weeks. It would mean that I went far in the tournament," Djokovic said.
Djokovic is in the same half as World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Spainsh great Nadal is one rival the Serbian won't be facing, though, after the 14-time French Open champion withdrew due to injury last week.
The World No. 3 shared his thoughts on Nadal's absence and his title contenders.
"Obviously Nadal not playing in the tournament here is a big loss for tennis. It is a big loss for Roland Garros, because he's by far the most successful player to play in this tournament in the history. Of course it opens up, you know, a chance and opportunity for the rest of us to try to get a title, because whenever he plays he's an absolute favourite here or any clay court tournament, for that matter," the 22-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic said.
"You have Alcaraz, he's No. 1 and probably the biggest favourite in the tournament. Tsitsipas and [Daniil] Medvedev, they have started playing great on clay. And Rune, [Casper] Ruud and [Alexander] Zverev, knows how to play big events, can always do damage against anybody," he added.
Djokovic was full of praise for the 20-year-old Alcaraz and his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero.
"With Alcaraz, you have Juan Carlos Ferrero who is a former World No. 1. Someone who had the reputation of always being very serious, very disciplined, and he went about his business in a proper manner. I think him being with Alcaraz from I the age of 14 or 15 was a fantastic decision for Alcaraz. To have somebody who is going to mentor and guide you and introduce you to the professional tennis. It is obviously working extremely well," the Serbian said.
Djokovic will begin his campaign against American Aleksandar Kovacevic. (ANI)