Djokovic now alert to Murray threat at French Open
NOVAK Djokovic underlined the growing clay-court threat of Andy Murray barely a fortnight from the French Open after conceding defeat to the British number one in the final of the Rome Masters.
Murray, the number two seed who suffered defeat to Djokovic in last week's Masters final in Madrid, celebrated his 29th birthday in style with a stylish 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Serb in one hour, 35 minutes.
Murray's powerful serve had Djokovic in trouble on more than one occasion during a rain-hit final in which he requested, without success, a break amid fears he would slip and injure his ankle.
Although Djokovic heads to Paris looking to make amends for last year's stunning defeat to Swiss Stan Wawrinka, Murray has just become a potentially bigger obstacle to his hopes of a 12th Grand Slam title.
"At the French Open, the conditions are also a bit quicker, which he likes... He's going to come in in great form to Paris."
Serena Williams, meanwhile, heads to Paris brimming with confidence ahead of her bid for a third title at Roland Garros that would take her Grand Slam tally to 22.
She will become just the fifth woman to achieve such a total in singles after Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Margaret Court.