By winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2022, Rafael Nadal has hoisted himself to 22 Grand Slams. The Spanish phenomenon has left everyone speechless, detaching his eternal rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the all-time Grand Slam rankings.
The Swiss can no longer touch up his tally, having retired in September last year. Nole, for his part, paid dearly for his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus. The 35-year-old from Belgrade had to sit out the Australian Open and the US Open last season, but managed to limit the damage by winning his seventh Wimbledon.
In addition to equaling his idol Pete Sampras with seven wins at Church Road, the Serbian is just one length clear of Nadal in the Majors all-time standings. The 'Djoker' will try the hook already at the 2023 Australian Open, where he goes hunting for his tenth seal.
Goran Ivanisevic's protégé will make his debut against Spain's Carballes Baena on Tuesday. Speaking to the Tennis Channel, Martina Navratilova analyzed in detail the prospects of Nadal and Djokovic.
Navratilova opens up on Djokovic
"The odds are with Novak Djokovic," Martina Navratilova told Tennis Channel in a recent interview.
"Chances are he'll win one, or two, maybe even three Majors this year. Rafa is an odds-on favorite at Roland Garros, but the rest of them, for me, Novak is the favorite in all the other three Majors," Navratilova stated. "So, somebody's got to beat him and make him pay the price, but right now, odds-on favorite in all those three." Tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes that Novak Djokovic is far from his best level heading into the 2023 Australian Open.
"Novak has won a tournament again, just like that. It sounds amazing, even more considering that was his 34th consecutive win in Australia since 2018. But he is still far from his best level." He added: "Despite incredible support from the crowd, his level of play is linked with being a very emotional situation, him going back to Australia after what happened last year.
How will he feel once in Melbourne, we will see." Nole is ready: "I was really looking forward to come back and play tennis because that's ultimately what I do best, what I always wanted to do, what I wanted to do last year.
I'm really looking forward to play in front of the people and hopefully bring them some good fun and good vibes."