Novak Djokovic is looking to do what he failed to accomplish last year: complete his career Grand Slam. Djokovic has been a bit less vocal about his ambitions in 2013, which is a good thing given the way Rafael Nadal has re-established his red clay credentials over the past few months. Djokovic, however, remains a towering threat on clay. He established his bona fides in 2011 when he pretty much ran the table during the European clay-court circuit leading up to the French Open. He’s comfortable competing with Nadal, and he has a lethal combination of defensive skill, offensive firepower, and stamina. Although Djokovic took some surprising losses in recent weeks (he was beaten by Grigor Dimitrov in Madrid and Tomas Berdych in Rome), it’s unlikely that his confidence will be dented. He’s a first-class competitor and he knows the big prize is coming up for grabs.
What to Like:
Djokovic knows how to hold serve, and he has a superb transition game that enables him to open up the court. He also will take advantage of the extra time he gets on the slow clay to take control of the points.
What Not to Like:
Rafael Nadal. Djokovic’s main rival is an astonishing 52-1 in Paris, and he tends to win matches both quickly and easily. Beyond that, Djokovic has periodically taken his foot off the gas at costly times.
What to Expect:
Djokovic rolled an ankle back in Madrid, so he needs to win quickly and efficiently, with the expectation of meeting Nadal in the semis or final. If he gets embroiled in long matches he’ll pay a price, physically and mentally.
2013 French Open Profiles: