Tennis: Djokovic reveals not having won French Open inspires him

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their final tennis match at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco on April 19, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their final tennis match at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco on April 19, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Novak Djokovic insisted on Sunday that he is motivated and inspired by the opportunity to win a first French Open and become only the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

The world No. 1 has five Australian Open titles, two Wimbledon crowns and a single US Open, but has yet to crack the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris losing to nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the 2012 and 2014 finals.

But the 27-year-old is the form player of this year, having captured the Australian Open as well as the Masters titles at Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo for a record of 30 wins and just two defeats.

"The question coming into each year: is this going to be the year or not?," said Djokovic as he faced down the familiar enquiry over his chances at the French Open with the second Grand Slam event of the year just two weeks away.

"That is the question present in my head, but it is not a question that is distracting me or bothering me; it excites me," added the Serb who is top seed at the Italian Open in Rome which gets under way later on Sunday.

"It gives me inspiration and motivation. The approach of being in the moment also helps, so I need to be devoted to this tournament first."

If Djokovic were to win an elusive first French Open then he would join Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Nadal as one of a select band of men to have completed the Grand Slam.

Victory in Paris would also put Djokovic halfway to a calendar Grand Slam - a feat achieved only by two men.

America's Budge was the first in 1938 before Australian legend Laver pulled it off twice, in 1962 and 1969.