World No. 2 Novak Djokovic has a new outlook on the European clay court portion of the tour.
The Serbian star pulled off an extraordinary feat last year when he dethroned eight-time reigning champion Nadal in the final in Monte-Carlo. It would mark his biggest victory of the clay court portion of his season, as he would lose in the semi-finals of the French Open to his Spanish nemesis, which is why he is determined to restrategize this time around and focus simply on the tournament at hand and not on the Major title over month ahead.
“Right now I want to dedicate my attention to Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome, three very big tournaments on clay.” Djokovic said on Sunday in a sit-down interview with assembled media at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. This is where I want to do well and eventually get myself in a very good position in terms of confidence for the French Open.
“Last year, Roland Garros was more in my mind. It was in my thoughts constantly. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, and it doesn’t mean that this year I don’t want to win it. Of course I will put all my effort into it, but only when the time comes.”
Djokovic admitted that he focused most of is energy on cementing his career Grand Slam, which indirectly caused him to put on lackluster performances in Rome and Madrid.
“Last year, I put a lot of energy – mentally, physically and emotionally – into winning that title. It didn’t help much for the tournaments prior to that, like Madrid and Rome. I have a different kind of approach this year. On the ATP World Tour we have a lot of important tournaments. When the time comes we will talk about the Grand Slams.”
Accompanied by his coach Boris Becker, Djokovic is looking forward to building on his fantastic month of March, where he managed to win the Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time in his career.
“Right now I do have confidence after the wins that I had in Indian Wells and Miami. They arrived at the right moment for me because I had a bit of a slow start to the season. Beating Rafa and Roger [Federer] in the finals definitely gives me a confidence boost. Hopefully I can use that at the start of the clay-court season.”