Rod Laver ‘favouring’ Novak Djokovic ahead of Rafael Nadal for French Open glory

Novak Djokovic on the charge

Rod Laver believes Roger Federer will struggle at the French Open once he “gets pushed” while he also backs Novak Djokovic to win the title ahead of Rafael Nadal.

Playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer has impressed so far as he has won his first four matches in straight sets.

However, defending champion Nadal and Djokovic have been equally impressive.

When asked about who he fancies to win, 11-time major winner Laver said: “To win here? I don’t know whether Roger’s – he’s certainly in it and he’s certainly playing well, but I don’t know if anyone has really pushed him yet. I think he’s being – he’ll be pushed a lot more when it comes to some of the younger players coming up through the ranks.

“But only one thing is true: You only have to win seven matches. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to win 128 of them. So therefore, your schedule and your competition, whoever is out there – yeah, I think someone like Rafa is going to be tough if Roger and those two meet.

“I don’t know. I’m probably favouring Novak at the moment and then Rafa and then it goes down the line. Then it’s who’s going to play who.”

Djokovic is the real danger man as he is on a roll and gunning to win a fourth consecutive Grand Slam, having won Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open in the past 10 months.

“I marvel at someone like Novak with his ability and his consistency,” Laver said. “When you look at, you know, the way he plays the game, he doesn’t go bang, bang, bang, ace, volleys. He wins every individual point, you know, from the baseline.

“So, you know, he’s quite an individual on his own ability. Well, yes, he’s won all four at one time or defending champion at all times, so he’s already done that portion of it.

“But I think more so when I look at today, he just won the Australian, so, now he’s in line to win a Grand Slam. So that, to me, if he beats a semi-final – I don’t know who he plays in the semi-final, but the final, if he wins here, he’s on line to win a Grand Slam, you know, starting with the Australian.”

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