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Djokovic still chasing elusive French Open

Published:Sunday | May 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Novak Djokovic


Novak Djokovic will be celebrating his 29th birthday when the French Open starts today. If nothing else, it underlines just how frustrating it has become for the top-ranked Serb to win the only major to elude him.

Djokovic, who has lost the past two finals here and three altogether, is playing his 12th tournament and would set a record for most appearances at Roland Garros before winning the title in the Open era. Four players - Stan Wawrinka, last year, Roger Federer, in 2009, Andre Agassi, in 1999, and Andres Gomez, in 1990 - all won on their 11th appearance. Goran Ivanisevic holds the Open era Grand Slam record of needing 14 attempts before winning Wimbledon in 2001.

Although Djokovic insists he is not "obsessed" with winning the elusive title, he may never get a better chance because nine-time champion Rafael Nadal is still finding his best form on clay, Wawrinka has been erratic and the 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer is skipping the tournament to protect his troublesome back. Second-seed Andy Murray could pose a serious threat, having beaten Djokovic in the Italian Open final last weekend.




"Of course, I anticipate myself, as everybody else (does), to try to get my hands on this title this year," Djokovic said. "Even if my career was done tomorrow, I made some achievements that I must be proud of, so that's how I approach things. I don't try to approach them from a point of view of being obsessed with this tournament or with any other tournament, for that matter."

Since the start of 2015, he's 119-9 overall, winning four majors and 16 titles - including a tour-leading five this year.

He has won 11 majors and could yet equal Nadal's haul of 14 by the end of the year.