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"It's Paramount Challenge To Play Rafael Nadal In Roland-Garros": Novak Djokovic

10:58 AM May 09, 2024 IST | 8PM News Desk
 it s paramount challenge to play rafael nadal in roland garros   novak djokovic
"It's paramount challenge to play Rafael Nadal in Roland-Garros": Novak Djokovic

Rome : The 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, who will be seeking his first trophy of the year, discussed the possibility of Rafael Nadal making his final participation at the French Open 2024 and said facing the Spaniard in Roland-Garros is "really a paramount challenge."

With 14 Claycourt Slam titles under his belt, the Spaniard owns the record for most crowns at the French Open.

Before starting his campaign on May 10 at the Italian Open, Djokovic spoke to the media in Rome, stating that facing Nadal at Roland-Garros would be "one of the biggest challenges" in tennis due to the Spaniard's impressive record.

Tennis - ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 15, 2022 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

"It's probably one of the biggest challenges that you can have in the tennis tour, playing Rafa at Roland-Garros. We know his records there. I played him probably more than any other player has played him on that court," Djokovic said in a pre-tournament press conference.

"It's really a paramount challenge to play him in Roland-Garros. He's an incredible athlete. The tenacity and intensity he brings on the court, particularly there, is something that was very rarely seen, I think, in the history of this sport," he added.

When asked about the likelihood of this year's Paris Major being Nadal's final appearance in the tournament, Djokovic said it would be "emotional" for the Spanish legend.

"I'm sure that it's going to be very emotional tournament for him, as it probably was in Madrid and here. But there in particular because of the records he has," the Serb said.
Nadal has consistently stated that this season could be his last on the professional tour.

However, he has not said if the decision is final or subject to change.

"Now is my third week on the tour almost in a row, so... It's a good moment, even if the results are not what used to be. But I am increasing my feeling, my level. Let's see. Yeah, I want to keep going," the 22-time Grand Slam champion said of his retirement during a pre-tournament press conference at the 2024 Italian Open.

Nadal will face Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs in the first round of the Italian Open on May 9. Meanwhile, Djokovic will begin his campaign against either a qualifier or Roman Safiullin in the second round on Friday.

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