World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and World No. 4 Rafael Nadal will start yet another battle with the commencement of the 2022 French Open as the two tennis greats are in the race for most Grand Slam titles won. Nadal currently leads the race with 21 majors while Novak is not far behind with 20 to his name.
In the last 17 years, Rafa has won the French Open 13 times having an unmatchable dominance in the major. Novak comes into this year’s edition as the defending champion having beaten Nadal in last year’s semi-finals, marking just the third defeat for Rafa at the tournament in his 108 matches so far in the Roland Garros.
The favourites for the Roland Garros had a big twist when Nadal limped off in his third-round defeat at the 2022 Rome Masters and Novak went on to claim the Masters title, his 38th on the Tour, the most ever by any man. Rafa’s foot injury has been with him for a long time now but a recent flare-up has turned the tide towards Novak who is suddenly the title favourite after his brilliant preparatory run in the Golden Swing and his title in Rome where he did not drop a set.
“No, I don’t think he’s the big favourite. We’ve had several years where Rafa won Roland Garros and he wasn’t the favourite. He got there, played better, took advantage of the five sets and found a way. And I’m sure if he’s there this year, he’ll find a way to play his best tennis. There were years when he came to Roland Garros and he was playing his best tennis, and he won, and there were years when he wasn’t playing his best tennis, he did his best and that was enough to win.
“And this could be one of those years where he will do his best and it will be enough, he will improve with every game and his confidence will grow. But in my opinion, he is not the favourite to win at this particular moment. Maybe the third, or fourth favourite. And Novak, for me, is number one,” opined 3-time French Open champion Mats Wilander speaking with Observador.
A clash remains imminent between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the French Open
Novak is the number 1 seed at this year’s French Open with Nadal following as the 5th seed. The two greats are however drafted into the same half of the draw and as per their positions, the two might clash in the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam marking their 9th meeting at the Grand Slam of which the last year’s semi-final win for Novak was his second win against the King of Clay in his favourite hunting ground making Novak the only man to beat Nadal twice in Roland Garros.
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