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Novak's Madrid Loss 'A Valuable Experience'

Rome, Italy

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is upbeat and ready to begin his quest for a third title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Despite being ousted by Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open last week, the Serbian has put a positive spin on the early exit.

“It was a strange week for me in Madrid. I look at it as a valuable experience,” said Djokovic. “Every defeat is equally as important as a victory, so I try to analyse the things I went through. 

“I came here Wednesday, so I've been here almost a week working hard on my game and fitness in order to prepare well for Rome. I hadn't had a lot of practice before Madrid, so I'm trying to make up for lost time here. I think I'm ready and will be able to perform with my best tennis.”

While he was defeated by Dimitrov, the Serbian is pleased to see the progress made by Dimitrov and other players in the same generation as the Bulgarian. Djokovic believes performances like the one Dimitrov delivered in Madrid can only be beneficial for the sport.

“Dimitrov showed his mental strength against me [in Madrid]. He managed to play three hours at a high level. It's good for tennis to see the generation coming up,” said Djokovic. “There are some young players like Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Bernard Tomic who are really talented. They have great potential to become top players. They have shown that previously on several occasions when they won against the top players.  

“If they will be able to make a breakthrough into the Top 10 is the question mark. The competition is very strong. You cannot play well for one or two tournaments and then not play well for two months. You have to be consistent.”

Djokovic will open his Rome campaign against Spanish qualifier Albert Montanes. The top seed lifted the trophy in 2008 and 2011 and considers the tournament one of his favourite stops on the ATP World Tour.

“I enjoy Italy very much. I love this country and the culture. It's close to Serbia,” said Djokovic. “The mentality is quite similar. I have a feeling that we get along really well. I've had lots of support in the past and it's always felt like home.”

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