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Djokovic eyes Nadal's French Open crown

ESPN staff
April 22, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Novk Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal's 46-match winning streak in Monte Carlo © Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic believes his Monte Carlo Masters victory over Rafael Nadal could propel him to the French Open title, the only grand slam missing from his trophy cabinet.

The world No. 1 ended Nadal's record eight-year reign at the Monte Carlo Country Club with a 6-2 7-6(1) win in Sunday's final, snapping the Spaniard's 46-match winning streak at the event in the process.

The Serbian nearly skipped the event after injuring his ankle while on Davis Cup duty, but with his confidence now sky-high he could arrive in Paris as the man to beat, a mantle adopted by Nadal since the first of his seven victories in 2005.

"This trophy could not come at a better moment for me," Djokovic said. "It was a difficult last two months. I've been through some ups and downs emotionally, physically.

"But I'm right in the place where I want to be this moment confidence wise, game-wise. I just need to do what I have done always: stay committed, to rest well, prepare well.

"And then I have the next two weeks for those things, getting ready for next challenge."

Djokovic, who levelled his record against Nadal in tournament finals at 8-8, will now take the next two weeks off before heading to the Madrid Masters, allowing his ankle to heal before his assault on Paris.

"Of course, I want to win Roland Garros. That's no secret," Djokovic added. "But I need to keep on having the right positive mindset for the next tournaments that are also very important, just trying to stay healthy.

"We've played so many times. It's true that in the end it's very mental on the highest possible level when you're playing for trophies, big tournaments.

"Physically you're ready, you're getting ready, your game is there.

"Mentally, emotionally if you manage to cope with pressure in those tough moments, manage to play your best, you have a better chance of winning.

"I'm filled with joy when I play this sport. It's a huge driving force for me to be able to perform my best always.

"Of course, that kind of focused winning mentality. I think I have enough success in my career that gives me enough reason to have that kind of particular mindset."

Men's rankings: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Roger Federer (SUI), 3. Andy Murray (GBR), 4. David Ferrer (ESP), 5. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 6. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 7. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), 8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), 9. Richard Gasquet (FRA), 10. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB).

Women's rankings: 1. Serena Williams (USA), 2. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 3. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 4. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 5. Li Na (CHN), 6. Angelique Kerber (GER), 7. Sara Errani (ITA), 8. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 9. Samantha Stosur (AUS), 10. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN).

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