Toni Nadal analyses favourites to win 2023 French Open

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic pose

Toni Nadal has discussed the favourites to win the 2023 French Open and revealed who he would pick if he “had to put money” on someone. 

The renowned coach also expressed hope that his nephew Rafael Nadal will compete at Roland Garros next year, while lauding the mental toughness of the ‘Big Three.’

The 62-year-old coached Nadal from his childhood until 2017, helping him win 16 of his 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

The Mallorcan has been working with 22-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the current world No 10, since 2021.

World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz and World No 3 Novak Djokovic are widely regarded as being the two leading favourites to win this year’s French Open, which started on Sunday.

Nadal supported this assessment, while identifying four other players he feels are ahead of the rest of the men’s field.

“In my opinion, the top two favourites are Djokovic and Alcaraz. At this moment, it seems like Alcaraz is in better shape than Djokovic, but Djokovic is a great champion – if he is feeling well, it’s hard to beat him,” Nadal told Tennis Majors.

“Alcaraz has his weapons as well, of course. I believe that there are four or five players that can lift the trophy, but if I had to put my money on someone, it would be Alcaraz or Djokovic.

“[Daniil] Medvedev, [Andrey] Rublev, [Holger] Rune and Casper Ruud – they have a slightly better chance than the rest, but it’s open.”

The Spaniard expressed his disappointment that his nephew, a 14-time Roland Garros winner, could not play this year, but was positive he would be back.

“It’s disappointing that he can’t be here because this is the only tournament he never missed since the start of his career. Look, it was bad luck that he wasn’t able to recover in time, but OK – it’s a shame, but life goes on.

“Yes! I believe [Rafael Nadal will play the 2024 French Open] because I want to believe. I know that it’s getting harder to win with every year passing by, but I always believe that things will work out well.

“I think all the great players are very strong mentally – if they weren’t they wouldn’t be able to achieve what they did. Rafael is strong, Djokovic is strong, [Roger] Federer is strong.

“With Rafa, he was taught from a very early age to play every point as if it was a final. That helped him become mentally really strong.”

READ MORE: Mats Wilander thinks ‘most people’ want Carlos Alcaraz to win French Open over Novak Djokovic