Novak Djokovic is hoping to "perfectly tune" his game at the Belgrade Open this week in a bid to peak at the French Open.
The world No 1 has improved as the clay season has progressed – reaching the final of the Italian Open after an early exit at the Monte-Carlo Masters and semi-final loss at the Serbia Open.
He will be hoping to take another step forward as he returns to his home country of Serbia this week. It will be the first time Djokovic has played a tournament the week before the French Open.
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"I’ve been setting up everything to peak in Paris and here it’s about matchplay and it’s about working on certain specific details in my game that hopefully I’ll be able to tweak them and to make them perfectly tuned in Paris," he said.
"That’s definitely where I want to shine and it’s a Grand Slam. It’s a two-week long event, it’s clay, it’s very demanding in every aspect. But I’m happy with the way I’ve been feeling on the court and playing, so hopefully I can go all the way there."
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Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 but has lost in the final on four occasions, including last year.
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He is bidding to win his 19th Grand Slam title, which would put him one behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time standings.
Asked about his plans over the next week, he said: "I’m doing more specific fitness that is related to more matchplay. It’s not any more long hours lifting weights and stuff like this. We have obviously a programme that we are respecting and accomplishing on the court with tennis training and also fitness training.
"Obviously now it’s more of a fine-tuning, more details, doing more of certain exercises that activate certain muscles and movements that are necessary for me to have that feeling of being dynamic and being fast and being strong on the court."
Djokovic’s last outing saw him push Nadal in three sets in the final of the Italian Open in Rome.
"I was pleased with the way I played in Rome," he said.
"Also in the final after five hours spent on the court on Saturday. I came out and played almost three hours with Rafa on Sunday and I felt I could go on physically for a few more hours. That was something that really satisfied me, knowing that I’m fit and ready to battle in best of five, which is coming up in Paris, where I really want to try to play my best tennis."
Djokovic will play Egor Gerasimov or Mats Moraing in his opening match in Belgrade.
"It is always very special to play in Serbia. It’s quite unusual to have two tournaments so close to each other. I played the Serbia Open a month ago here and now we have another tournament and this tournament came up as a surprise to all of us.
"I think the success of a nation in tennis depends a lot on the amount of tournaments that are played in that country."
ATP Washington, DC
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