RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING IN SHOT NUMBER 4 IN SHOTLIST
PARIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 26, 2020) (FFT - SEE RESTRICTIONS BEFORE USE)
1. VARIOUS OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND DOMINIC THIEM BEFORE PRACTICE SESSION TOGETHER
2. VARIOUS OF THIEM
3. VARIOUS OF DJOKOVIC
4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD NUMBER ONE AND 2016 CHAMPION, NOVAK DJOKOVIC, ON OVERCOMING HIS U.S. OPEN EXIT, SAYING:
"Well, it was a very unusual situation that happened. We see, never happened in my career previously and hopefully it will never happen again. It was a shock for myself and many people that, you know, I had to finish the U.S. Open in that way, but I think it was very positive for me that I came back to Europe and play the tournament, six, seven days right after that happened. Because I did not wait for too long, or I did not allow that, let's say, experience or emotion to stay inside for too long. Of course, it's in my mind, you know, I'll probably never forget about that, but it did not disturb me emotionally to be able to play in Rome. I mean I won the tournament and I was completely fine."
5. RAFAEL NADAL AT START OF PRACTICE SESSION
6. VARIOUS OF NADAL
7. SERENA WILLIAMS JOGGING ON COURT
8. VARIOUS OF WILLIAMS
9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, SERENA WILLIAMS, ON IF THE TOURNAMENT WILL BE DIFFERENT GIVEN THE LATER START, SAYING:
"I think the only difference is that, well, it's at the end of September. I usually end my season after the Open (U.S. Open), but this time around I'm here at Roland Garros, so that's the only difference. Yeah, it's always cold for me."
10. START OF SIMONA HALEP'S PRACTICE SESSION
11. VARIOUS OF HALEP
STORY: Players put in their final practice sessions on Saturday (September 26) ahead of the start of Roland Garros on Sunday.
With the final Grand Slam of the year finally taking place in it's rescheduled date, having been moved from late May due to the coronavirus pandemic, world number one Novak Djokovic and recently crowned U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem held a joint practice session.
Djokovic, the 2016 champion, arrives in the French capital off the back of Rome Masters glory, which came following his undignified U.S. Open default exit for hitting a line judge in the throat inadvertently during his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
The incident in New York has been the only blemish in a year in which the Serb has assembled a 33-1 record and deprived him of the chance to reach 18 Grand Slam titles, one behind Rafael Nadal who will be gunning for an astonishing 13th French Open crown.
On the women's side, Serena Williams fine-tuned her preparations with a practice session as she continues her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title and first since the Australian Open in 2017.
Also, on court was top seed Simona Halep, who begins her campaign on her 29th birthday on Sunday against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.