Novak Djokovic ‘becomes favourite’ for French Open with Rafael Nadal injured
Novak Djokovic is likely to be the man to beat the French Open, provided he gets a few tournaments under his belt following his recent absence from the ATP Tour, according to Mats Wilander.
Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic has played only three matches in 2022 due to his unvaccinated status as he was deported from Australia ahead of the season-opening Grand Slam, while he was also unable to compete at Indian Wells and Miami as only fully vaccinated foreigners are allowed to enter the United States.
Seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander is tipping Djokovic to defend his title at Roland Garros.
“So he’s going to be well rested in his mind, in his heart,” he told Eurosport.
“Physically, he has been able to set up his training schedule perfectly, at least the way that he would want to.
“Of course, he would have liked to play more matches, but if he gets to three tournaments and maybe [plays] 10 to 15 matches, he goes into Roland Garros as maybe the favourite to win the tournament.”
Following Rafael Nadal’s brilliant start to the season with the Spaniard winning three tournaments, including the Australian Open, many believed Nadal would be the favourite at Roland Garros.
Nadal, though, will now miss the start of the clay-court season after picking up a rib injury and Wilander believes it has changed the odds in Djokovic’s favour.
The Swede added: “Now that Rafael Nadal is maybe not going to have the perfect preparation, Djokovic suddenly becomes the favourite.
“But he most probably needs a little bit of confidence in some of the tournaments that leads up to the French.
“But that’s great news because we don’t want to see the rat race end with Rafa Nadal having a fractured rib, with Roger Federer having surgeries on his body and with Djokovic not being able to play tennis because of vaccination issues when it comes to Covid-19.
“So hopefully we can get all three of them back healthy in the right state of mind. And just for one tournament, I’d like to see the three of them play again. That’s going to be the biggest tournament of all time in the history of professional tennis.”
Novak Djokovic’s 2024 tennis schedule: Where will the tennis great winner kick off his season?
Which tournaments are likely to feature on Novak Djokovic’s 2024 tennis schedule?
Former WTA star fears for Carlos Alcaraz in worrying Rafael Nadal comparison
A former world No 9 has admitted she is “worried” about Carlos Alcaraz in a Rafael Nadal comparison.
‘Novak Djokovic dominated last few years due to missing Slams over vaccine stance’, says former No 1
A coach and former WTA star thinks Novak Djokovic missing events has helped his longevity.
Caroline Wozniacki gets Australian Open wildcard nod, but Emma Raducanu absent from initial list
Caroline Wozniacki to return to her “special place”, but it remains to be seen if Emma Raducanu will get a wildcard.
‘There is less than a 10% chance of seeing Rafael Nadal win Roland Garros’, claims former pro
A retired ATP pro has written off Nadal’s chances of winning a 15th French Open title.
Top coach makes huge prediction about Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz ahead of 2024 tennis season
Who will have the better season in 2024? Carlos Alcaraz or Jannik Sinner?
Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon loss likened to Serena Williams’ career-changing 2012 French Open defeat
Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon defeat may have been a blessing in disguise.
The 7 players to win ATP titles after saving a match point in 2023: Novak Djokovic, Hubert Hurkacz feature twice
Here is a look at the nine times players saved a match point en route to winning ATP titles in 2023.
Rafael Nadal backed to ‘find the rhythm’ as Roger Federer comeback comparison is made
A former ATP star is optimistic about Rafael Nadal’s comeback and used Roger Federer to illustrate his point.
Novak Djokovic has one big weakness – and here is why his opponents struggle to expose it on court
We look at why Djokovic has always struggled with his overheads at the net and what opponents could do to take advantage of that flaw.