Advertisement

'Low expectations and high hopes' for Djokovic - day three preview

Novak Djokovic holding the French Open trophy
Three of Novak Djokovic's 24 Grand Slam titles have come at the French Open [Reuters]

Novak Djokovic says he has "low expectations and high hopes" as he begins his French Open campaign on Tuesday, looking to win a 25th Grand Slam title.

The 37-year-old Serb claimed his third Roland Garros success in 2023 and begins this year's campaign against French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the night session in Paris.

But Djokovic has not reached a final in 2024 and lost in the third round in Rome to Alejandro Tabilo and to Tomas Machac in the Geneva Open semi-finals earlier in May.

"I almost feel a bit embarrassed to say what my expectations are - low expectations and high hopes,” said Djokovic.

“Anything but a title for me is not satisfactory, it always has been like that. I know it might sound arrogant, but I have the career that backs it up."

Herbert, 33, is 142nd in the world rankings and never gone past the third round of a Slam.

Djokovic, who also won the French Open in 2016 and 2021, added: "In the Grand Slams I normally play the best tennis, at least I aim always to play the best tennis, and I was able to do that for most of my career, so that’s the goal.

“I have been saying for quite a while that in terms of clay I want to peak here in Paris, in Roland Garros."

Boulter faces tough test against good friend Badosa

Katie Boulter holding the Nottingham Open trophy
Katie Boulter has won two WTA Tour events in the past 12 months - the Nottingham Open in June 2023 and then the San Diego Open in March [PA Media]

British number one Katie Boulter begins her campaign with a tough task against former world number two Paula Badosa of Spain.

Badosa, 26, was a quarter-finalist at the French Open in 2021 while 26th seed Boulter will be playing her first match in the main draw having failed to qualify in 2018 and 2023.

However, Badosa has struggled with injuries over the past 12 months. A back injury forced her to retire from her second-round match at Wimbledon last July - a problem that kept her out for the rest of 2023.

In 2024 she has also had to pull out because of injury at the Thailand Open, the Dubai Championships and the Stuttgart Open, where she suffered a minor tear in her adductor.

Badosa revealed she has had messages of support from 27-year-old Boulter and said: "When I was injured, she was checking on me. I think a long time ago she had a similar injury.

“So we are good friends. She’s a nice person. Really happy how she started the year. I think she’s playing very well. She’s a dangerous player.”

Britain's Dan Evans is scheduled to be in the last match on Court Suzanne Lenglen when he takes on 13th seed Holger Rune of Denmark.

Evans, 34, has dropped to 62nd in the rankings and has only won one of his seven matches in the main draw at Roland Garros.

Elsewhere, women's second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus takes on 19-year-old Russian Erika Andreeva and former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina plays Belgium's Greet Minnen.

In the men's singles first round, Casper Ruud, Alex de Minaur and Taylor Fritz face Felipe Meligeni Alves, Alex Michelsen and Federico Coria respectively.