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Djokovic: Banked Rest Can Help Peak for Paris

Novak Djokovic hasn't gotten his feet too dirty on red clay this season.

The five-time Rome champion's 6-3, 7-6(5) rain-interrupted win over Taylor Fritz was just his sixth clay-court match of the season.

More: Djokovic Moves on in Rome

Djokovic, who plans to play his hometown Belgrade Open next week, believes banking rest earlier in the spring can help fuel him for the demands of Paris as he aims to regain Roland Garros.

"Well, we all know the clay is a slower surface in the sport. As much it requires more physical energy from a player, but also I think mental and emotional energy as well," Djokovic said. "[Clay] is also a very demanding surface in terms of tactics, in terms of just constructing the point.

"Sometimes it's just really cat-and-mouse type of play where you have to fight for a better position on the court, sometimes use the shots that you would not normally use on other surface, like this looping forehand or backhand, trying to get back in play, build your position. I mean, it is the surface that probably requires from a player to defend better than on any other surface."

Djokovic captured his lone Roland Garros championship in 2016 defeating Andy Murray in the final. The pair practiced together in Rome on Monday.

Prior to peaking in Paris in 2016, Djokovic posted a 9-2 record during that clay lead-in season, defeating Murray to win Madrid and topping Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori before bowing to Murray in the Rome final. 

The 18-time Grand Slam champion, who celebrates his 34th birthday on May 22nd, said he feels fresh and fit with Roland Garros looming on May 30th.

"But, look, I haven't played a lot at all, so I don't feel physically exhausted or worn out," Djokovic said. "I don't think that's going to be a case for me coming to Paris.

"I'm excited to come to Paris. That's obviously the biggest goal of my clay court season. I'm hopefully going to get more matches here in Rome, then some more in Belgrade, then get in the top shape for Roland Garros."

Photo credit: Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Facebook