“The last four or five matches that I lost to him on clay - some close ones, some that he dominated - were probably due to the level of tennis that I played that wasn't just meeting his level, when his level on clay is always there, always very high,” he said on Monday in his pre-tournament press conference.
“If you don't meet him there, if you don't produce a high level of performance on this surface, you have no chance to win the match on this surface against him.”
A refreshed world No.1
After claiming his 83rd career title over the weekend at Belgrade, Djokovic appears to have all his ducks in a row emotionally.
His even-keeled performance against Sandgren gave clear indication that he is very much at peace with his game and locked into his mission in Paris. Even when he found himself in trouble on Tuesday, facing multiple break points in the second set, or when he hit a few errant shots, there was a decisive push to regain control.
Djokovic believes that his decision to play in Belgrade last week will help him in the long run, and he explained his reasoning on court after the match.