Tennis: Djokovic not obsessed by French Open pursuit

Serbia's Novak Djokovic eyes the ball during his match against France's Stephane Robert during the ATP Tennis Open tournament at the Foro Italico, on May 11, 2016 in Rome.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic eyes the ball during his match against France's Stephane Robert during the ATP Tennis Open tournament at the Foro Italico, on May 11, 2016 in Rome.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - World number one Novak Djokovic insisted Friday (May 20) that he is not obsessed by the French Open, the only blot on his Grand Slam career.

Djokovic, who turns 29 on Sunday on the opening day of Roland Garros, needs a Paris title to complete the career Grand Slam and win a 12th major.

But he has known nothing but heartache in the French capital, losing three finals in four years including last season when he was reduced to tears in a four-set loss to Stan Wawrinka.

"Age is just a number for me, so I still feel like I have plenty of more years ahead of me, which gives me more comfort in terms of opportunities I'm going to have at the title of Roland Garros, which releases more pressure for me this year," said the Serb.

"So of course I anticipate myself to try to get my hands on this title this year. But if it doesn't happen, there is always another year, because I don't have any intention of slowing down yet.

"On the other hand, even if it never happens, I need to be very humble and realistic and see my results and my career need to be satisfied with what I have achieved so far."

Djokovic starts his 12th Roland Garros against Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun, the world number 100 who made the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2010.

Djokovic is seeded to face Tomas Berdych in the last-eight before a potential semi-final blockbuster against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in what would be the 50th meeting between the two superstars.

Their rivalry began in 2006 at Roland Garros and Djokovic has the edge at 26-23, claiming the pair's last seven encounters since losing the 2014 final in Paris to the Spaniard.

But Djokovic is not looking too far ahead, desperate to keep a lid on expectations of a victory in the final which would also put him halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam sweep since Rod Laver in 1969.

"Even if my career was done tomorrow, I made some achievements that I must be proud of," said Djokovic.

"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."