Novak Djokovic backed to win most Grand Slams as ‘clock is ticking for Rafael Nadal’

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal shaking on it

Novak Djokovic is the favourite to end up with the most Grand Slams with tennis expert Barbara Schett saying the fact that he is physically in good shape and can “still play for many more years” are key in his rivalry with Rafael Nadal.

Many believe that the player who ends up with the most Grand Slams will be considered the greatest player of all time (GOAT) and it is currently neck-and-neck as Nadal leads the way with 22 majors on the back of winning the Australian Open and French Open while Djokovic is on 21 after his success at Wimbledon.

However, there is every chance that Nadal could extend his lead after the US Open as the Spaniard is set to compete after recovering from injury while Djokovic’s hopes depend on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changing its current mandate.

As things stand, Djokovic is on the entry list but he won’t be able to compete as unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to enter the United States. That, though, could change in the coming days.

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Former world No 7 and tennis pundit Schett believes 35-year-old Djokovic has the edge due to his fitness and age as Nadal (36) has struggled with injury for long parts of his career.

“I think now he practices just like if he was going to the US Open. If there’s a last-minute change, he’s going to be there, and if not, his life will continue,” she told Eurosport.

“I think Novak will still play for many more years; it looks like that. His body is fine, he doesn’t suffer too many injuries, and I think he will give absolutely everything to go down in the history books by winning the most Grand Slam titles.

“Clearly he’s not far away. He’s only got one more to go, and then he equals Rafa Nadal. If you look at Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic now, I would say Novak can still play for another two, three years, or maybe even longer. And Rafa Nadal, I think the clock is definitely ticking there.”

Djokovic has had a tough year as he missed the defence of his Australian Open title due to his unvaccinated status while he has also been unable to compete during the North American hard-court season.

However, he bounced back from the disappointments to win Wimbledon in July and Schett has no doubt that he can win at Flushing Meadows should the mandate allow him to enter the country.

“It’s a rough year for Djokovic,” the Austrian continued. “You could see it in this way, and you can see it in the other way as a tennis player. It’s horrible because I still think if he would go to the US Open, would be able to play now, he is the favourite for me to win the title.

“I have absolutely no doubt about that because to me, he’s the best tennis player, the most consistent tennis player out there. But then on the other side, he chose not to be vaccinated, and that’s fine, but then he has to live with the consequences as well, that he can’t enter certain countries.”