Coach Goran Ivanisevic underlined that Rafael Nadal is always a French Open favorite and said he definitely expects a Nadal and Novak Djokovic quarterfinal. Nadal, 35, is a record 13-time French Open and beating him at Roland Garros is considered as the toughest thing in the game.
Last year, Djokovic met Nadal in the French Open semifinal and claimed victory. Djokovic clashed Nadal three times in a French Open and each time ended on the losing side. Djokovic is a two-time French Open champion - he defeated Andy Murray in the 2016 final, before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas last year.
"Rafael Nadal is always the favorite in Paris. He has won 13 titles here and he must be considered the favorite, but he was the favorite last year as well and he did not win the title. I think that it is extremely hard to face him in the final here, because he has never lost one.
The same thing with Novak in Australia, where it is almost impossible to play him in the finals," Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors.
Ivanisevic expects Djokovic and Nadal to meet
Djokovic and Nadal are projected to meet in the French Open quarterfinal.
Djokovic plays Diego Schwartzman in the French Open last-16, while Nadal meets Felix Auger-Aliassime. "Last year, I said it is better for Novak to meet Rafa in the semis, and now they could potentially face off in the quarters.
First they both have to get there – which I believe they will – and then we will have the greatest quarter-final in the French Open history. Who is going to win? I do not know, I do not have a crystal ball with me," Ivanisevic added.
"Before the draw, we knew that there were 50 per cent chances that the three of them (Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz) would end up in the same half, and it happened. Unfortunately or fortunately, it remains to be seen."
Djokovic defeated Nadal last year and went on to win the French Open. Djokovic stopped Nadal from winning the French Open last year and he is certainly confident that he can do the same this year as well.