Novak Djokovic: I Don’t Have To Do Anything Special To Win The French Open
by Tom Gainey | May 18th, 2015, 9:48 am

After a dominating win over Roger Federer yesterday for his fourth Rome title, Novak Djokovic turned his attention to the French Open which is his only missing Grand Slam from his trophy cabinet.

“I don’t think that I need to gear up or do anything special in order to be successful at the Roland Garros,” Djokovic said Sunday. “I have been very close to that title before, played several finals, I just need to continue preparing myself for that event as I prepare for any other and try to keep the routine going and hope it will take me where I want to be.”

Djokovic has won 22 straight matches, but in 2011 he won 43 in a row. He talked about both streaks.

“The fact that I have managed to win so many matches in a row gives me a reason to believe I can do it again,” Djokovic said. “I want to keep going as long as I can. I don’t want to think fear or everything else can be an obstacle and interrupt this streak. I always try to do my best no matter what is the tournament. This kind of mindset has helped me to be where I am.

“If I can repeat what I did in 2011? I don’t know. There are things out of your control. What you can influence is the present and how you can get in the position to do well in the future.”

And Djokovic said he come overcome the fear of winning the French Open.

“Over the years I’ve managed to understand how to confront with the fear and how to overcome it,” he said. “I’ve done things the proper way to face the fear. I did go through several situations in my life and on the court when I was failing where I was doubting myself but those particular failures made me successful. I think it’s important to believe in yourself and face the fear in every situation, sometimes it takes out the best of you.”

Djokovic will now his French Open path on Friday when the draw is made. The tournament begins on Sunday.

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46 Comments for Novak Djokovic: I Don’t Have To Do Anything Special To Win The French Open

AndyMira Says:

Sound a little bit arrogant,no wonder Roger don’t like him much..well we shall see in three weeks time.

Docpops Says:

Sorry, the arrogance title has already been given to Federer.

Giles Says:

Yep, cocky barbarian and arrogance too!

Fahim Says:

if that was arrogance then what was that about novak “novak is not rafa on clay”. After being in a such kind of form (novak) federer’s comment showed his arrogance and disrespect to his opponent.And here novak was trying to say that he wont put any pressure on him and want to play his natural game.

Fahim Says:

if that was arrogance then what was that about novak “novak is not rafa on clay”. After being in a such kind of form (novak) federer’s comment showed his arrogance and disrespect to his opponent.And here novak was trying to say that he won’t put any pressure on him and want to play his natural game to win the title.

skeezer Says:

Arrogant? If so he learned from the best, lol. Fans mis read the tennis professional imo in these terms. They have to have self belief, at times they must be their own cheerleader and encourager motivator as well. Once on the court, there is nonone that can save them but themselves.
As far as Feds comment, you can say it was arrogant, but you can also say it was an honest assesment.

Seth Says:

Djokovic and Federer actually seem to have developed a fairly respectful, even cordial, relationship. Whatever beef they had with each other has long been water under the bridge.

chris ford1 Says:

I think that Djokovic meant it in the sense that he can go with the game he as got and the tactics he uses and not need some hidden new miraculous trick shot broken out only for Rafa or surprise the King with a constant net attack.
Nothing special. Just play the Djokovic way, reach the A level he can get to, execute everything well, and he has excellent prospects of taking Rafa 40% of the time on any clay court even if Rafa is also in great form.
I am a Djokovic fan, and one thing I really admire about him is he strives every day to improve, and not just his tennis profession.
He made himself into Rafa’s greatest threat over years of hard work at it.

jane Says:

that’s how i read it too chrisford1, and agree about the effort to improve. would you agree volleys and serve have improved the most since becker joined?

Matador Says:

Interesting, but words not always means the true feelings, in this case, of a tennis player. It will be interesting when he reaches the qf,sf and especially the final, how he responds to his ultimate desire: Win The Coupe of the Muskeeters.

Jalan Says:

I think by that comment Federer meant no disrespect, but only that Djokovic did not possess that nastty spinning topspin shot to his backhand that Rafa has used so well against him on clay.

chris ford1 Says:

jane – I agree that his serve came together and his volleys are improving. His significant serve improvement predated Becker by a bit, then got better still under Boris/Marjan. I think his volleying was something he knew he wanted to do more on an intellectual level to increase his freshness in a tournament lowering match length, not to mention career longevity, by shortening points. And at a game strategy level to make it a real concern to foes he might be coming in at any moment, and disrupt their rythm.
But he hesitated.
Because, let’s be honest, he is the least good volleyer of the stars of this era, and many other era of tennis.
That is where I give Becker the most credit. Giving Novak the confidence that it just adds to his abilities, it will pan out, trust Boris he knows, and Novak has the abilities to become an excellent volleyer because he does have touch, exceptional hand eye coordination, and reflexes. He just needs to cultivate the muscle memory and instinct on when he has great odds to finish points at net, and how. And for sure, along the path to improvement, Nole will have his goof ups. Inappropriate drop shots, the risk of his infamous Djoko-smashes still happening from time to time.
Becker is adding this in practice and pushing Novak to work on it in matches he has in control. And more in more in tough matches so Djokovic can witness how well it can work against the top guys and use it on them, too.

Result is showing now to any fan. Djokovic has yet more new, or improved weapons and is using them.

Temple Says:

Never have I remembered Nole’s service being such a formidable weapon. It will not break the speed of sound barrier, but it will, 3 times out of 4 bail him out. Not to mention the drop shots, which are a joy to watch.

gregory Says:

Nadal is 66-1 at the French Open, Djokovic is going down again!!! Nadal will rise up and take the French Open!!!

sienna Says:

he knows what he wants it is just matter of timing and taking on the job.

no sensor in stressing about draw or possible opponent.

he does put extra emphasis on winning it. when he does hats off to him. when hè doesnt. eggfaced egg lover.
this win puts him on par with Nadal.

Elaine Crowder Says:

I believe RAFA,will do VERY well,
even if he does not win,he is gradually building step by step onto his time away.
HE is humble in winning and defeat.
Let’s give praise where praise is due.

Navdeep Says:

Sound’s a bit overconfident. Novak, u r favorite but dont u ever forget 66-1.

Giles Says:

Yes he does sound over confident doesn’t he? And that is all because Rafa is having some issues at the moment which I hope will be resolved fairly quickly.

Zozza Says:

Djokovic is playing career best tennis
Nadal is in decline
Why not he confident or over confident ?
His results this year speak volumes
Even though 66-1 is playing his favourite event

Nitesh Says:

Djokovic has speaker his mind he is playing very well. The most impressive thing is the way he totally dismantle his opponents in third sets. He takes game to another level where nobody right now is either hum. So he is right in saying so

sienna Says:

still even djokovic cannot touch the level Cilic reached at USOpen 2014.

Novak might have confidence but he must hope that the level Cilic layed out is not the level of current generation.

of course what we saw by Cilic standard is how tennis will be played in future say 6/7 years.

Novak is consistent at his highest level but he can be overhauled. Cilic performing at his toplevel cannot.

Chances of Cilic reaching his toplevel are marginal to say the least.

Margot Says:

Wow! Worth a punt on Rafa!

Navdeep Says:

I agree he is the best right now and dominating everyone but no dominance is bigger than Rafa’s at RG. Today winning a grandslam is easier than beating Rafa . So give Rafa his 2nd loss their, novak needs to do something special.

Navdeep Says:

beating Rafa at RG

Michael Says:

I like this dare devil and no nonsense approach of Novak. He has matured as a player from being just caricatured as a Djoker. Despite several things going in his favour, still the trophy is not assured and he has to gain it. There will be a serious challenge if he manages to meet Rafa early in the tournament and it will not be easy to shake off the ghosts in his mind of losing to Rafa every single time he has faced him here despite holding an intimidating H2H advantage of late. I think he is saddled with too much pressure after his victories in consecutive master series tournaments. But he has handled such pressure situations before and extricated himself commendably and so the cycle might in all probability be repeated. What I am only worried is that he must not become too complacent with his sequence of wins and caution should always be his watch word. There is every room for upset chances at any stage in the tournament and so Novak must be conscious of that possibility too. It is not just between him and Rafa. He has to beat the circuit. Let us see how 2015 transpires for Novak. Will be emerge stronger ? A win at Rolland Garros will make Media crazy and rave about his histornics while a loss would be interpreted as a weakness of him not able to replicate his success in grand slam tournaments as he does in smaller tournaments.

Nitesh Says:

Although rafa has been beaten once but this time he is most vulnerable. Although I want rafa to win he is suffering losses working hard again suffering . It’s not at all easy for both of them – rafa & Djokovic.
Both are among huge pressure to win. Djokovic knows such kind of opportunity is once in a decade chance ” rafa without a clay court title”
I expect Djokovic to win, but want rafa to win.

Nitesh Says:

@ Navdeep u from which place

kriket Says:

I don’t find him arrogant, not in this interview and not generally, as a person.
He just doesn’t come accross as arrogant. He always respectable his opponents and greets them at the end of a match with a little hug (kind of), not just a mere handshake. And that never changes whether he wins or loses. Further more, he almost doesn’t even celebrate the final victory point anymore. In his younger years when there would be chest thumping, shirt ripping and roaring after the grand slam final point, nowadays it’s just a raise of the racket to the air to acknowledge with the gesture that he is aware he’s won.
Last year Wimbledon, I don’t remember him being overly cheerful in the end. It’s almost as if he’s embarrased to celebrate too much in the face of his opponents, not to hurt their feelings maybe, plus he’s already used to those situations and it’s not that big a deal as it was in the past.
I always thought that those who held his way of cheering in the victory against him, calling him “class less”, “barbaric” and whatnot (even on this same thread), that they are just haters who don’t have any better argument to belittle him so they’d use anything they can. That becomes apparently true, as Novak’s celebrations become evermore subtle and discrete, those people are still singing the same hater’s song about “classlessness” and “barbarism”. It’s just lame to even have to read through those same hateful posts, time and again, when Novak proved time and again that he is a gentleman.

About the interview, he says he thinks he can repeat his 2011. style domination and even better it by winning the FO at last. He has to believe that. He’s been asked, and he answered. It’s not like he went to the newspapers and made them publish his world domination manifesto against their will.

I just think that he is a person worthy of being the No. 1 tennis player in the world. Simple as that. That doesn’t mean that people have to love him of course, but they should at least show some respect. By all means he deserves it.

elina Says:

I don’t see a big improvement in Novak’s net play. Scary to think how much more dominant he would be if that were the case.

However, what is an obvious improvement to attack Nadal’s defensive approach deep behind the baseline, is his drop shot.

He has also further improved his mental strength and ability to handle the heat over the last year, both IMO which cost him in last year’s USO.

Nadal IMO is still the only one who has a real chance against him but I think this year it is Novak’s to lose especially given Nadal’s seeding reflected in his poor play of late.

MMT Says:

Jane said: “…would you agree volleys and serve have improved the most since becker joined?”

I have to admit that when he picked up Becker, I thought it was a terrible idea. I never found his commentary to be insightful, nor have I found his game to be particularly tactical, and if I’m honest, I think he underachieved in his career.

Having said that, you can’t argue with results. Djokovic seems to have fewer lapses in concentration, and his volleys in my opinion have improved the most. Think his serve has been quite strong since 2011 – he still has the occasional yips, but I don’t see any technical changes to his game.

Tactically, the one thing I will point to on the serve is that his distribution has improved significantly – he now serves more frequently wide in the deuce court, as well as the ad court (although less so compared to the deuce court) which opens the court more and allows him to dictate from his serve more. That’s probably down to Becker and he deserves (very begrudging) credit for that.

In the past he went up the T too often in both courts and his opponents could sit on that serve, but now he gets more free points up the T because he has established the wide serve. I should point out that there’s room for improvement in his body serves, which are non-existent and very useful if he can keep the speed up, otherwise players of high quality will eat it for lunch.

So Becker – I can’t believe I’m saying this – has improved his game.

Daniel Says:

Agree MMT, Djoko has always hit down the T too much to take him out of trouble, on both sides. But now since he is varying more, when he go for it, he gets rewarded free points.

ingrid Says:

I am not a fan of Rafa but his numbers speaks for themselves 66-1 record is hard to debate. As Roger says, let the racket do the talking. plus we will all find out in a few weeks if we have new champion or Rafa will have the last laugh like he did last year when he was biting that trophy for the 9th time…LOL

elina Says:

Agree with MMT completely. BB has been a real surprise IMO. Props to Nole for seeing his potential and to BB for delivering.

Nadal could learn something.

sk Says:

NOT what Novak said. Whoever wrote the title of this article clearly is trying to stir controversy and attract web traffic.

jane Says:

thanks mmt, for your thoughts on becker. nole’s numbers at the net have improved dramatically, so it’s hard to argue that he’s not improved in that area, and in terms of his serve, i’ve noticed some “flatter” serving as well, and the kick serve works well too. but nole himself has said, like you, that he’s been working on placement not just speed. perhaps this explains why for maybe the first time fed didnt break him once during the rome match, and it took until the 4th set of wimbledon last year for fed to get a break. novak maybe kept him guessing a little more.

mat4 Says:


I mostly don’t agree. Novak used to serve wide in the add side, in fact, it was his best serve. And he served wide in the deuce side very often.

But he was much less precise serving down the T. He goes more for the lines, now, has more variety, takes more risks on the second serve, and it seems that he is much harder to read, to see where he is going to serve.

He has improved his FH, both CC and IO, while he still has to work on his FH DTL. But stats that I see from time to time during matches suggest that his FH has more power and more speed today.

He has improved his transition game too, and rushes to the net every time he thinks the opponent will slice the defensive shot. His directional volleys are deeper and overall better.

His backhand seems to have regressed a bit.

mat4 Says:

It is interesting that stats reveals nothing of the changes in his game.

Here is a link, just compare the data in the table above, right, for 2011, 2012, 2013 and the last 52 weeks.

mat4 Says:

Novak wasn’t the one to see Boris’ potential. He tried to hire other coaches, but eventually Nikola Pilic proposed Becker, since he had worked with him and knew him well.

Pilic is a well know player and coach (he lead Germany to a Davis Cup win), so it was a well thought decision.

Novak kept Vajda too, and that was the real plus. Becker knew what Novak had to achieve, Vajda, who was much longer in the training process, knew Novak much better and it was probably him that hinted how Novak had to do it. It’s just speculation from my part, but it is probable.

kriket Says:

mat4 I’m not sure that you are right about Pilić recommending Becker. Where did you learn about that?

I remember watching or reading his interview around the time Novak hired Becker, and he said that if Becker wants seriously to work with Novak and try to coach him, he (Becker) would have to seriously cut his nightlife.

Now, someone saying that doesn’t sound too sure at that moment that Becker is capable of anything worthwhile, so I don’t see how he could’ve recommended such a person if he gave statements like that after Becker was already hired.

I’m sure he said that, only not sure whether I read it in the papers or seen it on TV.

mat4 Says:


I don’t remember now. But I am pretty sure of it.

kriket Says:

mat4, if it’s true then I’m really curious on how to interpret that statement Pilić made about Becker’s lifestyle.

kriket Says:

I’ve looked it up and found conflicting articles published within 10 days of eachother. In one he kind of criticizes Becker about his lifestyle, but in another he is defending him when questioned about Novak’s AO loss to Wawa soon after he hired Becker, said he should be given time.

The first one is titled: “Becker should change his lifestyle”, and the second one: “Do not judge Becker too soon (or prematurely)”

Both articles are in Serbian so if you’re interested, I guess you can use Google Translate.

Navdeep Says:

Whatever happens from here on but french open is really the talking point of the year. A dominant challenger, a struggling champion, A resurgent former champion, a new but surprising challenger (murray) and some clay lovers. Lets see who takes the title.

mat4 Says:


I tried myself to find the article I read about hiring Becker, but without success.

I think it’s was a gamble, but seeing the changes in Novak’s game, a successful one.

WTF Says:

At first I thought he was tempting fate with that kind of confidence, but then I realized it was just a sensationalist headline.

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