Improving Djokovic sets sights on Nadal

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 20:44 [IST]
 

MONTE CARLO, Apr 18 (Reuters) Novak Djokovic believes he can end Rafael Nadal's 62-match winning streak on clay, even though he has a lot more to learn on the slow surface.

The 19-year-old Serb, who won his maiden Masters Series event earlier this month in Miami, reached the Monte Carlo Masters Series third round with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 defeat of former French Open champion Gaston Gaudio today.

However, Djokovic was taking nothing for granted.

''I think I need to be more patient on this surface. That is the fact which I was missing today, especially in the second set,'' he told reporters following his win over the Argentine, a winner at Roland Garros in 2004.

''I was too impatient trying to make a winner from every position, which is impossible on this surface.

''(On clay), the ball which you think is going to be a winner comes back, so physically and mentally you need to be more prepared.'' The world number seven, who has won 13 of his last 14 matches and beat Nadal en route to his Miami success, has great expectations for the claycourt season.

''In every tournament I go with the desire to win. I've won against Rafael Nadal just a couple of weeks ago, and that victory means a lot for me and for the future,'' said Djokovic.

''So I'm going to go step by step. I'm not in a hurry anyway.

But I have high goals, yes.'' The Serb, who became the youngest player to end a season in the Top 20 in 2006, says he now has to improve his preparation.

''If I have very high goals for this claycourt season, I'm going to have to physically prepare a lot,'' he said.

''I think it's going to be a good season for me because I'm going to put all of my strength and all my focus into the physical strength and preparation.'' Asked whether he would be the one to end Nadal's run on the slow surface, Djokovic said: ''I hope so.'' REUTERS TB VV1939

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