After bowing up Friday on the blue clay at the Mutua Madrid Open to Janko Tipsarevic, Novak Djokovic is all business this week in Rome.
“I’m physically fit and ready for the challenges that will come,” said the Rome defending champ Djokovic. “I’ve had a fantastic time here, especially in 2011. I really feel that this is why I feel really close to the Italian people.
“This year so far for me has been great and I have already won a Grand Slam [at the Australian Open] and Miami. Obviously I set high standards for myself with 2011, how it was in the first six months, but I never compare and I wanted really to focus on each and every tournament that I play in.
“Physically and mentally I am fine. I am where I wanted to be. I am number one in the world and I am winning Grand Slams. I love the challenge and I will now have to work harder to stay where I am.”
Djokovic will play his first match in his title defense against either a qualifier or Bernard Tomic.
“Expectations and pressure are part of the professional sport and this is something that you get used to, but I think I have enough experience to know how to approach a Grand Slam and a tournament,” Djokovic said.
“I have played so many big matches and I love the opportunity and I love the challenge. It is one of the top priorities, but it is a Grand Slam where Nadal is always the top favourite and Federer and other players are able to win it. It’s going to be interesting to see who comes out on top.”
Ahead, Djokovic will bid to complete the Career Slam at the French then defend his Wimbledon title. It will be a crucial stretch for the World No. 1.
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