The season's second Major event starts at Roland Garros in Paris next week. The famous coach Patrick Mouratoglou has no doubts about the winner in the men's singles, backing Rafael Nadal to claim his 14th Parisian trophy in the past 17 years!
Mouratoglou can't even think about any other champion, wondering who will be Nadal's rival in the title match and not about the outcome on June 13. Nadal has won 100 out of 102 encounters at his favorite Major since the debut in 2005, suffering losses in 2009 and 2015 and winning 13 titles to become the most dominant player at a single Major in tennis history.
Rafa lost ground a bit in Paris in 2015 and 2016, losing to Novak Djokovic and withdrawing a year later before bouncing back in style to claim four consecutive titles and improve his tally to 20 Major crowns. Nadal's most recent success came in October last year when he overcame challenging conditions and seven opponents in straight sets to lift the 13th Roland Garros trophy and extend his dominance.
This spring, Nadal lost in the quarter-final in Monte Carlo and Madrid, playing better in Barcelona and Rome to celebrate titles after fending off a match point at both events.
Patrick Mouratoglou believes that Rafael Nadal is the clear favorite at Roland Garros.
"The Next Generation has not taken over yet, in my opinion, despite many people saying that they have.
Rafa and Novak are still at the top of the game. Very clearly, Novak is less interested in tournaments outside Majors, and his results show that. Still, when he comes to Majors, he is always at the top of his game; and we can tell the same for Rafa.
For the moment, we can't say that the youngsters are taking over. They're getting closer and closer, that's for sure. I think that Novak feels that the guys are getting closer and closer, and it's probably stressful for him.
Is the margin as big as before? Definitely not. The margin is getting smaller and smaller, but I want to see a new generation guy win a Major over Rafa and Novak, which still hasn't happened yet. Rafa knows that he has to win other tournaments to be competitive at Majors; it's always been his pattern.
Roger has had a long injury that lasted much longer than we expected. Roger knows that he turns 40 this year. He can do anything else but focus on Majors, building his schedule around those to stand a chance. Every year when I'm asked about Roland Garros, I give the same answer.
I say that the only thing we don't know when Roland Garros starts is who Rafa will beat in the final. That's the only question, as we know other answers," Patrick Mouratoglou said.