Never before has the race for the Grand Slam record been so close: in first place, as for more than ten years now, we still find Roger Federer: the Swiss has won 20, including 8 Wimbledon trophies (absolute record). In second place is the Spaniard Rafael Nadal at 19, with an incredible 12 titles at Roland Garros.
World number 1 Novak Djokovic occupies the third position, who won 17 of the Slams. Especially considering that Federer, away from competitions since the beginning of the year, will not return to the court until 2021 and therefore will not be able to increase his tally.
Rafael Nadal will face two big issues while trying to win the French Open according to Martina Navratilova. Despite this, Navratilova still maintains that Nadal is a heavy favourite to win the tournament.
Navratilova on Rafael Nadal
“Well, it's gonna be trickier for Rafael Nadal than usual,” Martina Navratilova told Tennis Channel.
“Two reasons - first, he likes a lot of reps, a lot of match play and he won’t have, in his estimation, enough before the French Open”. However, despite these adversities, Rafael Nadal continues to be a ‘heavy favorite’ for Martina Navratilova.
"And the weather, it's going to be cold and rainy wet heavy condition,” Navratilova continued. “Rafa likes it lively so that his topspin really pays off and he can move people around the court much better.
The lower bounce not so much. These two things will go against him but he's still a heavy favorite”. Novak Djokovic's spectacular exit from the US Open for hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball could change the course of history.
Only time will tell, but the immediate wash-up is both simple and significant: neither Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, the winners of the past 13 majors - and 56 between them - will be extending their colossal grand slam streak.
And Djokovic is undoubtedly the big loser, and not only in the race for the all-time record men's major title winners. Djokovic has beaten Federer 27 times from 50 showdowns across their careers, meaning he boasts a 54 per cent win rate over the Swiss.
He also boasts a better head to head record over Nadal, triumphing 29 times from 55 matches - at a win percentage of 53 per cent. Yet there’s close to little in it between Djokovic and the other two. And that means that, by being absent this year, he had a chance he couldn’t afford to squander.