29th May, 2023
Novak Djokovic’s quest for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title has begun, as he arrived at Roland Garros injury-free.
He won a record-extending 10th Australian Open in January, despite having a hamstring injury, to equal Nadal’s tally of 22 Grand Slams.
Earlier this month, the Serbian had to withdraw from the Madrid Open due to an elbow injury, and he needed pain medication during his quarterfinal loss in Rome, but the 36-year-old is now back in shape.
Speaking with reporters, Djokovic said “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.
“Things are different than they were 10 years ago in terms of how my body is maybe responding to the schedule… So early in the year I was saying that I put emphasis and priority on the Grand Slams.
“I’m feeling good at the moment. 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.
As he seeks his place in history, Djokovic joked that he was relieved to see Nadal Rafael withdraw with an injury, but he described the Spaniard’s absence as a “big loss” for tennis, even though it opens up the draw.
Djokovic, who takes on Aleksandar Kovacevic, called world number one Carlos Alcaraz the “biggest favourite.” Alcaraz and Djokovic are on the same side of the draw and could meet in the semi-finals.