'Rafael Nadal's still the favorite at Roland Garros but...', says former star

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'Rafael Nadal's still the favorite at Roland Garros but...', says former star

The 2021 season is almost over, with only the Davis Cup finals left. The Big 3 share the all-time Grand Slam record, after Novak Djokovic cleared the gap that separated him from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by winning three majors this year.

The number 1 in the world touched the legendary 'Calendar Grand Slam', a feat that was only achieved by the legendary Rod Laver in the Open Era. The Serbian also made it to the final at the US Open, but surrendered clearly to Daniil Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

As is well known, Nole's presence at the Australian Open 2022 is shrouded in mystery. You will need to be vaccinated to participate in the Happy Slam and 'Djoker' continues to be very evasive on the subject. Nadal is expected to fly to Melbourne next January, while Federer announced his resignation a few days ago.

In a recent conversation on the Tennis Channel, Jim Courier made some interesting thoughts ahead of 2022. As the Next Gen rise and age, it will be increasingly difficult for the Big 3 to break through in the Grand Slams.

Jim Courier on Nadal and Djokovic

"For Rafael Nadal, how is he going to respond?" Courier continued.

"How is his foot going to respond after sitting out a lot of this season trying to fix that after it went out on him at Roland Garros? He's still the favorite at Roland Garros - slightly, slightly, slightly over Novak in my opinion - assuming they're both healthy."

Jim Courier also expressed his belief that Novak Djokovic is the favorite to win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles in 2022. "Novak is probably the favorite everywhere else," Courier added. "Certainly at Wimbledon, but on the hardcourts I think it's narrowed dramatically here with the way this season ended - the way that Zverev has stepped up and Medvedev has stepped up.

So I can easily see Rafa and Novak adding one each, maybe two if Novak goes to Australia. But these young guys are hungry and they've narrowed the gap on them." World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been one of the most dominant sportspersons this year.

To win the first three Grand Slam events of the season is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, as much as he is gracious in his victories, he is generous in defeat, too. The Serbian ace often congratulates his opponents and rivals when they accomplish something great.

After the ATP Finals 2021 concluded and the German Alexander Zverev ended up winning the title, the World No. 1 sent him an emotional message congratulating him on his great season.