The world number one was left in tears in 2015 when Stan Wawrinka unleashed a battery of single-handed backhand winners to all corners of Court Philippe Chatrier on his way to a shock Paris title.

Djokovic turns 29 on Sunday and will be playing Roland Garros for a 12th time where he remains the overwhelming favourite to secure a trophy which would also place him halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam since 1969.

But tennis is littered with great names whose Grand Slam pedigree endured shattering reality checks on Roland Garros's unforgiving crushed red brick surfaces. Pete Sampras won 14 majors but 13 times the great American tried to win the French Open and 13 times he failed.

Stefan Edberg also made 13 fruitless visits while Djokovic's coach Boris Becker tried nine times. John McEnroe also flopped, the four-time US Open and three-time Wimbledon winner having to console himself with a runners-up spot in Paris against Ivan Lendl in 1984.
     
Djokovic, with 11 majors under his belt, has come closer than all of them. He has been runner-up three times and a semi-finalist on four occasions.
     
His record in 2016 reads 37 wins and just three defeats although two of those came on clay -- against Jiri Vesely in a freak Monte Carlo opening-round exit and a loss to Andy Murray in last weekend's Rome final.

"All in all, it was very good two weeks after dropping out in Monte Carlo early. I needed these kind of results, winning one tournament and playing finals is great," said a weary Djokovic who has won the last three majors.

"I got what I was looking for, a lot of matches, and confidence and I spent a lot of hours playing on the clay, which now, leading up to Roland Garros is exactly what I need. Hopefully it's going to help me perform well in Paris."

An extra motivation for the Serb is knowing that he is just a little over USD 300,000 short of becoming the first player to earn USD 100 million in prize money.

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