'There will be huge stakes for Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros', says expert
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3331
The three Masters 1000 staged on clay had three different winners. Stefanos Tsitsipas won in Monte Carlo, Carlos Alcaraz beat the competition in Madrid and Novak Djokovic won his first title of the season in Rome. By triumphing at the BNL Internationals of Italy for the sixth time in his amazing career, the world number 1 has issued a clear warning to his rivals ahead of Roland Garros.
The Serbian phenomenon, who will be called upon to defend the title won last year, had a very difficult start to 2022 due to his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus. In addition to not having been able to defend the title at the Australian Open, the 34-year-old from Belgrade also had to give up the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami.
There is great concern about the condition of Rafael Nadal, who came out battered from Rome due to the exacerbation of the pain in his foot that had tormented him last season. In a video posted on his Instagram profile, Patrick Mouratoglou reviewed the four big favorites for the victory in Paris.
Patrick Mouratoglou on Novak Djokovic
"One: Carlos Alcaraz.' Carlitos' is probably the most solid player at the moment," Mouratoglou said. "He won Barcelona, he won Madrid, as well as Miami a few weeks earlier. In Madrid, he became the first player to defeat both Nadal and Djokovic in the same claycourt event.
Two: Stefanos Tsitsipas. Finalist last year in Roland Garros, Tsitsipas also had a good claycourt preparation for Roland Garros. He defended his title in Monte-Carlo and racked up big wins over the last month." Mouratgolou then turned his attention to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and assessed how significant winning the event could be for both players.
"Three: Novak Djokovic. There will be huge stakes for Djokovic at Roland Garros this year," the Frenchman continued. "He dominated across several Grand Slam tournaments last year, and this will be his first Major in 2022. If he wins, he will tie Rafa in the GOAT race with 21 and be in great position to take the lead.
Four: Rafael Nadal. He's known as the 'King of Clay' and winning this year's Roland Garros would mean taking a two-title lead on Roger [Federer] and Novak in the GOAT race," Mouratoglou added. "But, he didn't have a great claycourt [season] in preparation for the French and didn't look in too good physical shape against Shapovalov in Rome."