Is Novak Djokovic undercooked ahead of French Open? A look at his recent clay record ahead of Roland Garros

Is Novak Djokovic undercooked ahead of French Open? A look at his recent clay record ahead of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has played only six matches on clay so far this campaign. Should that be a concern for the tennis great ahead of his French Open title defence?

It has been a difficult start to the 2024 season for the world No 1 compared to his usual high standards as he remains without a title this year. He is now in his second-longest trophyless start to a calendar year following his shock straight-set defeat at the hands of Alejandro Tabilo in the third round of the Italian Open.

The next opportunity to win a title will be at the French Open, but Djokovic himself admitted after the Tabilo encounter that “everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it”.

Worryingly for the three-time Roland Garros winner is his lack of matches on clay ahead of the Grand Slam.

His win-loss record on the terre battue so far this campaign is 4-2 as he reached the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters before going down in three sets against Casper Ruud.

He then opted to skip the Madrid Open and returned in Rome where he won his opener against Corentin Moutet before going down against Tabilo.

But how does his 2024 record on clay ahead of the French Open stack up to the previous 10 years?

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s longest trophyless start to a season: Will he break his own record?

2023 – 8-3

The good news for Djokovic is the fact that his record this year is not much different compared to last year as he played only 11 matches in the build-up to Roland Garros as he suffered a third-round defeat at Monte Carlo, a quarter-final loss at the Srpska Open and a last-four defeat in Rome.

But he was in imperious form in Paris as he dropped only two sets en route to lifting a third title.

2022 – 11-3

Djokovic started his 2022 clay campaign with a defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters before finishing runner-up at the Belgrade Open. After a semi-final loss to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open, the Serbian won the Italian Open.

At Roland Garros, Djokovic won his opening four matches without dropping a set before he ran into Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final.

2021 – 11-3

The tennis great played four tournaments ahead of Roland Garros and went down in the third round in Monte Carlo, the semi-final of the Serbia Open, the final of the Italian Open before winning the Belgrade Open 2.

It was good practice as he won his second French Open title with a five-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

2020 – 5-0

The Italian Open was the only warm-up event ahead of Roland Garros in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and Djokovic was crowned champion in Rome, but lost the French Open final against Nadal.

2019 – 11-2

A quarter-final exit at Monte Carlo was followed by a title run at the Madrid Open and runners-up finish at the Italian Open.

Djokovic ended up losing in the semi-final in Paris against Dominic Thiem.

2018 – 7-4

The Serbian played only 11 matches ahead of the French Open as he suffered early in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. He reached the semi-final in Rome, but again came unstuck against Nadal.

His campaign at Roland Garros was ended by Marco Cecchinato in the quarter-final.

2017 – 10-3

A quarter-final loss in Monte Carlo was followed by a semi-final defeat in Madrid and loss in the final of the Italian Open.

Thiem again proved to be too tough in the quarter-final of the French Open.

2016 – 10-2

After losing his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters, Djokovic went on to win the Madrid Open before losing in the final of the Italian Open against Andy Murray.

But he turned the tables on Murray at Roland Garros as he won his maiden title in Paris with a four-set win over the Scot.

2015 – 10-0

Djokovic played only two tournaments ahead of the French Open and he won both as he Tomas Berdych in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters and Roger Federer in the showpiece match at the Italian Open.

He made it 16-0 as he reached the final at Roland Garros after beating Murray in the quarter-final and Nadal in the semi-final, but Stan Wawrinka denied him the title with a four-set win in the final.

2014 – 8-1

The Monte Carlo Masters and Italian Open were once again the only events on Djokovic’s calendar ahead of Roland Garros and he was beaten in the semi-final in Monte Carlo by Federer before beating Nadal in the final in Rome.

But Nadal had his number in the final at the French Open as he won in four sets.

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