Djokovic before debut in Geneva: “I need to play more matches”

The Serbian says why he chose to compete a week before Roland Garros

May 21, 2024

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is the top favorite for the Gonet Geneva Open 2024.
By Staff

Although this week marks Novak Djokovic’s first appearance at the Gonet Geneva Open, the top seed will feel right at home on Swiss soil.

The Serb’s close friend Neven Markovic, who was best man at Djokovic’s wedding, used to play for local football club Servette FC. Djokovic, who will celebrate his 37th birthday on Wednesday, the same day he faces Yannick Hanfmann in the second round, also has family in Geneva.

“[Neven] I played for Servette about 12 or 13 years ago. And that was the first time I came to see Servette and supported him,” Djokovic said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Yesterday I came with my family who lives here, because my little cousin is going to marry a Servette player. That’s where the connection is now. That’s why I’m supporting the club and I was there with them supporting. “It was a pleasant experience.”

“I have cousins ​​in the family who [han vivido] here for a long time. So I have visited them in the past several times. And I was also practicing in Geneva a few times, but I never played the tournament. I have never visited this club either, it is definitely one of the most beautiful I have seen in the world. The park is impressive. The view of the lake is incredible. So, overall, I feel very happy to be here.”

The No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings is competing in the ATP 250 on clay thanks to a wild card. With a modest season record of 12-5 by his standards, Djokovic is hungry to start making waves this week in Switzerland before beginning his quest for his 25th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.

“The reason I chose to come play is because I feel like right now there is no better practice for me than a match,” said Djokovic, who is one win away from 1,100 on tour. “I feel like I need more games, even if it’s one, two, three or four, hopefully. It’s good for me, because it’s the way to try to find the kind of form I need for Roland Garros.”

Aiming to claim his first trophy of the season, the 98-time tour champion has been working hard to get back to the level he knows he is capable of.

“In terms of fitness, I have spent a lot of time with my new trainer to develop the stamina, physical strength and skills I need to play best-of-five on the most demanding surface, which is clay,” Djokovic said. “So I hope I can play more than one game here in Geneva, that’s the goal and then we’ll see what happens in Paris.”


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