Djokovic 'motivated' by career Grand Slam

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Djokovic is bidding to become the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

Novak Djokovic insists 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.

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The world number one 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 2015 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 in the year.

"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 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.

But Djokovic isn't looking too far ahead, preferring to concentrate on lifting a fourth Rome title on his return to action after opting out of the Madrid Open which was concluding later Sunday.

"I want to build a platform to get off and perform well," Djokovic said at Rome's Foro Italico.

"At this level you need freshness of mind and also fresh legs in order to perform well to overcome the challenges of long and exhausting matches on this surface. I hope my decision to skip Madrid will positively effect this week and Roland Garros. We'll see.

"I have done things in the right way over the past couple of weeks. My whole team is here — both coaches (Marian Vajda and Boris Becker) — so we are taking it really seriously and we hope to have a good result."

Djokovic has a bye in the first round in Rome before facing either Spain's Nicolas Almagro or Italian wildcard Luca Vanni.

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Andy Murray to meet Rafael Nadal in Madrid Open final

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Murray beat Nishikori to set up the Nadal final.

Andy Murray will take on Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s (May 10) Spanish Open final after the Briton eased past Kei Nishikori, claiming a 6-3 6-4 win in an hour and 37 minutes.

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The first two games went with serve and while Murray earned a break point at 30-40 in the third, Nishikori was able to see off the danger.

The Japanese had a chance for a break of his own in the sixth game but Murray was able to see that off and took the next game to open a 4-3 lead.

The Scot held in the next game and then broke his opponent again to take the opening set in 45 minutes. And he made it four games in a row at the start of the second before Nishikori at last got back on the board and then earned himself a break point on the next Murray serve.

Murray saw off that break point but could not hold out for a second and all of a sudden Nishikori led 2-1 in the set. He could not maintain that momentum, though, and Murray levelled things up at the second time of asking in the next game.

The next five games went with serve, although Nishikori had to see off a break point in the eighth, and he could not repeat the feat in the 10th as Murray closed out the win.

“I’ve lost some tough matches against the best players on clay where I felt like I played well, but it’s nice to get a win like that under my belt with the French Open just a couple of weeks away,” Murray said.

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VIDEO: Rafael Nadal reaches Madrid Open final after beating Tomas Berdych

Scott 10/05/2015
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Rafael Nadal will make his seventh final appearance at the Madrid Open after beating Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in the semi-finals at the Caja Magica on Saturday (9 May).







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