Novak Djokovic: ‘I like to play on hard and grass, while on clay…’

Novak Djokovic didn’t exactly shine in the second round of the Belgrade Open. The Serbian phenomenon bent the not irresistible lucky loser Mats Moraing thanks to the score of 6-2 7-6 (4). Despite the relatively easy scoring, the world number 1 had to manage some difficult moments, especially in the second set, even going so far as to smash a racket in a match that on paper had nothing to say. The 18-time Grand Slam champion seemed nervous in certain moments of the challenge, perhaps expecting some more answers from his tennis a few days from Roland Garros. After a slow start to the season on clay, Nole had given signs of awakening to the BNL Internationals of Italy, where he only bowed to his eternal rival Rafael Nadal in the final. The 34-year-old from Belgrade is betting heavily on the French Open this year, also intending to avenge the severe blow given to him by the Spaniard in the past edition. In a press conference after his debut victory, Djokovic admitted that he is not a great lover of this surface.

Novak Djokovic is one of the most accomplished claycourters on tour

“Although I grew up on clay, it is not my favorite surface,” the 34-year-old said. “I like to play on hard, then on grass, and then only on clay. But, that doesn’t mean that I recorded bad results on clay.” Novak Djokovic is one of the most accomplished claycourters on tour at the moment. “Australian Open. Melbourne Park. Rod Laver Arena. 7 p.m. That is the most ideal,” Novak Djokovic said. The 34-year-old then went on to mention some of the challenges he has faced on the red dirt over the years. “Clay is the kind of surface where it is unpredictable, and sometimes for my style of play, tempo, and rhythm it can be quite challenging,” he said. “When there are a lot of bad bounces, when the quality of the surface is not the best, even the wind, what kind of balls they are. I can’t always choose,” the Serb said. “It also depends on television and transmission, on other players, on whether someone plays doubles or not, whether he needs more time to rest because he has a small injury. It is the result of an agreement between several people – tournament directors, supervisors, other tournaments that are played then, television,” the Serb added. “There are a million different elements. I can send a request and here in Belgrade, those requests were accepted, but that is not always the case at other tournaments.”


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