Djokovic targeting elusive French Open title

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NEW DELHI: World number one Novak Djokovic said on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) he was eyeing the French Open title next year, the only major trophy missing from his cabinet, after an impressive 2014.

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The 27-year-old Serb won seven titles this season, including Wimbledon, and finished with a flourish at the World Tour Finals in London.

But Djokovic said he was looking forward to the challenge of ending nine-time champion Rafael Nadal’s reign as the king of clay at Roland Garros.

The French Open is the only major title missing from Djokovic’s Grand Slam collection having lost the 2012 and 2014 finals to Nadal.

“I’ve been pretty close a few times,” Djokovic said wryly.

“I have a small problem, his name in Nadal and he’s not going away that’s for sure,” he told reporters at the International Premier Tennis League in New Delhi.

“(But) I’m going to push hard for it, I’m going to keep on trying each year.”

“Hopefully I can keep on going, I have that self belief, I know I can do it and hopefully (by) the end of my career I am going to get one trophy there.”

Djokovic was speaking after narrowly losing 6-5 to Roger Federer in a tough, fast-paced one-set match at the new IPTL team competition.

Djokovic said he expected next season to be unpredictable, with young up and coming players making their mark including Japan’s 24-year-old Kei Nishikori.

“They (younger players) have proven to everybody that it’s possible.”

“It’s normal to expect that there is a new generation of players, even younger players that are right at the top like (world number five) Kei Nishikori,” who lost in the final of the US Open in September.

“We’ll see it’s definitely going to be an interesting year.”

Djokovic’s UAE Royals defeated Federer’s Indian Aces 29-22 in the third leg of the IPTL which moves to Dubai next.

The tournament features a bold, fast-paced format, with team ties consisting of five one-set matches, with no advantages and the first to six games wins.

The tournament started in Manila before moving onto Singapore and then Delhi. AFP

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