Tennis analyst and former player Prakash Amritraj doesn't necessarily agree with the notion that Rafael Nadal's French Open absence is having a major impact on the rest of the competition. For the first time since 2004, the French Open is taking place without Nadal participating.
Nadal is an absolute icon and legend at the French Open as he owns a lifetime 112-3 record at Roland Garros. With Nadal at Roland Garros, there has always been a strong intimidation factor. But Amritraj believes there is a group of players that is showing strong tennis and having a shot at winning the French Open.
Amritraj on Nadal's French Open absence
"As an audience member, look, For countless years, we have always associated Roland Garros with Rafa, and Rafa with Roland Garros. So many people come here just to get that bucket list of being able to catch him on court here.
Then on the players' side of things, all of a sudden, emotionally, you just feel, like, 'Wow, you know what? There is a huge big chance,' but I think once you step away from it a little bit, it is just one player among the 128 in the draw.
And a lot of these others are playing great, and they feel they are playing great tennis and they have a shot at winning, so once you kind of settle in, maybe it doesn't affect them too much as they go after their own glory," Amritraj said on Tennis Channel, per Sportskeeda.
Novak Djokovic, who has lost to Nadal nine times at Roland Garros, jokingly admitted during his pre-tournament press conference that he wasn't really sad over the Spaniard's French Open absence. The moment Nadal pulled out of the French Open, Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz automatically became the very top favorites for the title. It remains to be seen if Djokovic can take the advantage of Nadal being out and win his third title at Roland Garros.
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