Novak Djokovic shows Rafael Nadal respect: He is always top favorite at French Open

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Novak Djokovic shows Rafael Nadal respect: He is always top favorite at French Open

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has underlined that Rafael Nadal will always be a top favorite on clay and he definitely considers the Spaniard as a favorite for this year's French Open crown. Nadal has maybe never had such a weak preparation for the French Open but Djokovic respects the Spaniard and his abilities on clay.

After missing the beginning of the clay season due to an injury, Nadal started his clay season in Madrid, where he reached the quarterfinal. In Rome, Nadal suffered a round-of-16 loss to Denis Shapovalov. Nadal usually plays at least three or four clay tournaments leading up to the French Open and for the first time in his career he enters the French Open without a clay title won in the first five months of the season.

"If you talk about Roland Garros and clay, Rafael Nadal has always to be at the top if you talk about the favourites. Alcaraz has been phenomenal. I'm in the contention for any Grand Slam trophy. I'm aware that a lot of players want to put their hand on the trophy," Djokovic said, per Tennis Majors.

Djokovic confident in his chances

Djokovic, who won his first French Open title in 2016, captured his second glory at Roland Garros last year. "I believe in myself because I've done it and I know what it takes," Djokovic said.

Djokovic didn't enjoy a strong start to the clay season but found his game in Rome last week and won his first title of the year.

"This clay surface is the most demanding. It requires a lot of efforts, mentally, physically, emotionnaly. All the players know that. I've always needed several tournaments to feel good on clay. I reached the requested level in Rome," Djokovic noted.

Djokovic and Nadal could potentially meet in the French Open quarterfinal. "I've trained mostly with righties and I will play lefties, so yes, that's difficult," Djokovic said.