Are Novak Djokovic’s French Open hopes dependent on the weather?

Novak Djokovic in action

Boris Becker has expressed the opinion that the weather might determine if Novak Djokovic gets the conditions he needs for a French Open title push.

With no Nadal in the field, the French Open field sports just two former champions in Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.

While Djokovic has won the French Open twice, Carlos Alcaraz is currently the favourite with the bookmakers.

Becker believes that Djokovic will be praying for sunny days in Paris.

“I think the weather will also play a big role,” Becker said on Eurosport’s Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast.

“When it’s hot, the red ash in Paris is almost like a hard court.

“When it’s rainy, cold and wet like in Rome, it becomes a difficult, slow court and then Novak has a harder time than other players.

“I think the question is: how does he get into the tournament? How is the draw? When does he meet these young, strong players? Is that in the last 16 already, is it at the quarter-finals? A lot depends on the draw, but really also on the weather. On a sunny Parisian spring, he’s still one of the top favourites.”

Becker believes that Djokovic is stronger on hard courts and is the best in the world on grass but clay acts as a leveller for the rest of the field.

“I think he’s still king on hard courts and I see him better than anyone on grass right now,” Becker said.

“But on clay courts, the players mentioned are maybe a little bit better at the moment.

“If you look at the whole Grand Slam history, he won Paris twice. This is the absolute crowning glory for every mere mortal. However, he has won Melbourne ten times and Wimbledon seven times. In this respect, Paris is not his strongest tournament in terms of the Grand Slam quota.”

Becker feels that Djokovic is vulnerable to being overwhelmed by the physicality of younger players.

“I also have to say that I also saw the quarter-finals against Rune in Rome, where the young Dane was just physically stronger at some point,” Becker said.

“This has to do with the fact that at the age of 36, logically explained as a human being, you can no longer always reach the physical limit as a 21-year-old or a 25-year-old can.”

Becker would add that experience on the big stage and at Roland Garros could still give Djokovic a big edge.

“He is by far the most experienced player in Paris’ main draw. So, he knows how Grand Slam tennis works, he knows how to win Grand Slam tournaments. If so, that also plays a big role.”

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