Patrick McEnroe has said he would never rule out Rafael Nadal from the French Open title contention but added he is giving the slight advantage to Novak Djokovic at this year's Roland Garros. Nadal was forced to skip the beginning of the clay season as a rib injury kept him out of Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Nadal kicked off his clay season in Madrid, where he was beaten in the quarterfinal. In Rome, Nadal was in pain because of his lingering foot issues and he ended up suffering a shock loss to Denis Shapovalov in the last-16.
On the other side, Djokovic looked absolutely great in Rome as he won the title without a dropped set. "Normally I would say Nadal is the favourite. Djokovic got him at the French last year, but I still think he (Nadal)'s the favourite, all things being equal.
But, I think, I'm leaning towards Djokovic at the moment despite the fact that Alcaraz got him in Madrid. Altitude there, the ball jumping a little bit more, and Novak's starting to find his range. Right now, I'm going Djokovic as the slight favourite," McEnroe said on the 'Holding Court with Patrick McEnroe' podcast, via Sportskeeda.
Djokovic aims to match Nadal's record
After the 2021 season, Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer were all tied at the all-time Grand Slam record list with 20 Majors. Djokovic wasn't allowed to compete at this year's Australian Open, while Federer didn't play because he was recovering from a knee surgery.
Nadal took the advantage of the Djokovic absence and lifted a record 21st Grand Slam in Australia. Now, Djokovic will certainly be extremely motivated to win the French Open and tie Nadal's record. Last year, Djokovic won his second French Open title. En route to winning it all at Roland Garros a year ago, Djokovic defeated Nadal in the semifinal.