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“To me, he’s the greatest clay-courter ever _ already. To me, what he’s chasing is trying to chase down Roger, and get into the conversation of being the greatest of all time, and the greatest of this era,” former U.S. Davis Cup captain and ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe said. “And if it wasn’t for a guy named Djokovic, he might be knocking on the door of doing that.”

Clearly, Nadal is superb no matter what kind of court he’s playing on. He owns a total of 10 major titles and, like Federer, is one of only seven men with a career Grand Slam.

Djokovic can join that elite club in a little more than two weeks. While not as perfect as he was at the start of 2011, when he was 41-0 before losing to Federer in the French Open semifinals, Djokovic has been good enough to stay atop the rankings.

He’s 30-5 with two titles, including his nearly six-hour victory over Nadal in the Australian Open final. Djokovic never has been beyond the semis at Roland Garros, but if he can manage to win seven matches in Paris, he’ll be the first man since Rod Laver pulled off a true Grand Slam in 1969 (the Australian did it in 1962, too) to take four major championships in a row.

Djokovic doesn’t sound as if he finds the pursuit too daunting.

“Expectations and pressure are part of the professional sport and this is something that you get used to,” Djokovic said, “but I think I have enough experience to know how to approach a Grand Slam.”


AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.


Howard Fendrich can be reached at