“Wanted to Spend More Time”: Novak Djokovic Explains His Decision to Play in Belgrade Ahead of French Open 2021

Published 06/04/2021, 9:38 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


2020 Roland-Garros finalist Novak Djokovic has reached the third round with ease this year. Winning his first two matches in straight sets, he is again gearing up steadily for the title.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2021 Serbia’a Novak Djokovic reacts during his second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

What’s interesting is that Novak played back-to-back tournaments right before the French Open 2021 main event. Usually, the Serbian ace ends his preparations at the Italian Open two weeks before Paris, but not this time.

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This year, the current World No.1 opted to play two tournaments on his home soil, Belgrade. One of the two tournaments was  Belgrade, which was held in the week before Roland-Garros.

Given his unusual decision, Djokovic revealed what prompted the move and how it benefitted his French Open campaign.

Watch this story: Champions!: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, And Others’ Trophy Lift at French Open

Novak Djokovic on his decision to play in Belgrade before French Open 2021

In his post-match press conference after beating Pablo Cuevas, Djokovic explained his decision to play in Belgrade. His calling was the chance to play in front of a home audience.

Firstly, the 34-year-old stated that he knew that Roland-Garros would also commence under bubble and post-covid restrictions. He elaborated that it meant an inability to be free, a designated hour of exercise, and movement restricted between tennis courts and hotel rooms only.

So, when he heard that there might be fans in Belgrade, he instantly jumped on the decision. However, his experience was about more than the audience.

“It was an easy decision for me because I wanted to spend more time with my family, with my kids, my wife, my parents, brothers,” Djokovic said. “And just feed off that great energy and support that I had in the last couple of matches, particularly in the finals; it was just an amazing atmosphere.”

Eventually, Djokovic won the title on his home turf and arrived in Paris with beaming confidence. Looking back, he feels that he made the right choice.

“I don’t get too many chances to play at home, and so I wanted to use it and get myself pumped for Roland-Garros.

Read More: Novak Djokovic Sandwiched Between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in a Milestone Record at French Open 2021

Who will Djokovic play next at Roland-Garros 2021?

The 18-time Grand Slam champion will play Lithuania’s best Ričardas Berankis in the third round. Seemingly, he is looking forward to clinching his only second French Open title this year.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Provisionally, Djokovic is heading towards a clash against Swiss maestro Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. It is one of those matches that tennis fans salivate upon. 

Above all, a lot of tennis is still to come at Roland-Garros. Let’s see who goes on to become the French Open 2021 men’s singles champion.

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Read More: French Open 2021 Day 7: Men’s Schedule and Predictions For Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Others

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Purav Joshi

818 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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