Patrick Mouratoglou thinks Novak Djokovic will be the French Open favorite if he wins a lot between the start of the clay season and Roland Garros. Djokovic is set to kick off his clay season next week in Monte Carlo, while Rafael Nadal is set to miss the start of the clay season due to a rib stress fracture.
Last year, Djokovic beat Nadal in the French Open semifinal. If they meet again at the French Open, Djokovic and Nadal will have that match in the back of their minds, with the edge being on Djokovic's side, Mouratoglou says.
"If you think about Roland Garros now, you can think that it is the most open for the last 10 to 15 years. If Novak is able to win a lot between the start of the clay season and Roland Garros, then it won't be that open. Because Novak when he is at his top, even on clay, I think he is the best player in the world.
I know it's weird to say that when you see the number of Roland Garros that Rafa has won. But if you look at the figures, Novak beat Rafa many times on clay. Many, many times. Sometimes, quite tough, with a tough score. If they have to play each other in the last stages of Roland Garros, the match of last year will count in their minds 100 percent, in the sense that Rafa is going to be tense and Novak will be much more aggressive because he will feel more confident going against Rafa," Mouratoglou said in a clip uploaded on his Instagram.
Djokovic can't let Nadal win the French Open
Djokovic didn't get a chance to compete for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Nadal took the advantage of Djokovic not being allowed to play and won his second Australian Open title and a record 21st Grand Slam.
If Nadal wins the French Open, he would have two more Grand Slams than Djokovic. On the other side, if Djokovic wins the French Open, he gets the edge again in the Grand Slam record race as he would be the top favorite to win Wimbledon in the summer.