New Delhi: World number one Novak Djokovic insists he is close to winning the French Open, the only trophy missing from his Grand Slam cabinet, even though he has a minor problem and his name is Rafael Nadal.
"I have been pretty close to winning the French Open title and have played a few finals and semi-finals but I have a problem, his name is Nadal," said Djokovic, who has twice finished runner-up to record nine-time champion at Roland Garros.
Djokovic, who was speaking after the India leg of the IPTL, said he has got the self-belief to go all the way in the second Grand Slam of the year.
"Losing only one match in his career is credit to him (Nadal). I respect him a lot, Roger (Federer) and other guys. I am going to push. I am going to keep trying. The last couple of years the way I have played on clay courts against Rafa, it has given me enough reason to believe that I can make it. I got the self belief, I know can do it. Hopefully by the end of my career, I will get one trophy there," said the seven-time Major winner.
Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title this season, six months after hiring former world number one Boris Becker as head coach. One year into the partnership, the Serbian said he is looking forward to another season with Becker.
"I see the partnership going in a positive direction. The start of the year obviously was not easy. It took me some time to get used to it. Our individual habits, how we think, how we approach life and tennis in general. He is a legend. He has contributed a lot to the psychological part of my tennis. I am glad he was here with me (in India)," said referring to Becker's presence at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here yesterday.
His two most fierce rivalry has undoubtedly been with Federer and 'King of Clay' Nadal.
Asked to compare the rivalries, the 27-year-old said: "They are two very different rivalries, both have contributed to my career in a way that made me understand what I need to do, how much I need to work to challenge and win against them, winning trophies on way to becoming number one in the world. It has been a big part of my improvement, my success all these years."
"I respect both as players and people (Federer and Nadal). The relationship is only a positive message of our sport to all young kids. No doubt we are big rivals on the court but off it we smile, we talk, exchange some nice fun words.
"When you are on the court you want to win, no question about it, but at the end of the day we are all humans and we respect each other," said Djokovic.
Recently married to Jelena Ristic, Djokovic was asked about the recent engagement of his contemporary Andy Murray, who has had an up and down time on court since winning the Wimbledon last year.
Djokovic had an amusing message to Murray.
"Andy, if you are watching this, good luck," he said.
He further said: "It is positive of course, I wish him all the best. I know Andy and I know Kim (his partner), they are now taking the next step. We are expecting children so to say. Soon we are going to be one big big family on the tour," he concluded leaving the gathering in splits.