PARIS: Novak Djokovic said that being world number one can be the “best and worst” thing after setting up a possible French Open quarter-final against old rival Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

The reigning champion, bidding to equal Nadal’s men’s record of 21 Grand Slam titles, eased to a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 victory in his last-16 tie against 15th seed Diego Schwartzman.

He has spent a record-breaking 371 weeks as the ATP number one, but says that can make matches more difficult.

“Being number one is the best and worst thing about being number one,” Djokovic said. “I have been blessed to be number one that many weeks throughout my career.

“That was always the highest goal beginning of every season, particularly being in the era with (Roger) Federer, Nadal, the guys that are greats of the game. So of course that makes the success even bigger.

“On the other hand, the downside of being number one is that you are always being chased by everyone else that wants to dethrone you and wants to win against you in every single match, regardless of the size or category of the tournament.”

Djokovic is playing in a major tournament for the first time this year after being deported from the Australian Open, where Nadal won his 21st Slam, over his Covid vaccination status.

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