Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic labeled Rafael Nadal as the top favorite to win this year’s French Open but added that the Spaniard is beatable. Nadal, a record 12-time French Open champion, suffered a shock Diego Schwartzman loss in the Rome Masters quarterfinal.
A few days later, world No. 1 Djokovic beat Schwartzman in the final to win a record 36th Masters title. “Well, as I said, you know, it’s Nadal. Even though he lost this week, I still think, you know, a lot of people will agree, he’s the No.
1 favorite and, you know, the record that he has there, the history of his results, you just can’t put anybody in front of him,” Djokovic said in his press conference after beating Schwartzman. “But, you know, definitely Diego showed that Nadal is beatable on clay.
The conditions that they played on, obviously heavy clay, not much bounce, humid, night session, we are going to have that, as well, in Paris. “Night session, under the lights, as I said, a little bit less bounce, so I don’t know — you know, I’m pretty sure that he does not prefer that to high bounce.
I know he likes the high bounce. He likes the hot and warm and fast conditions where he can use his spin a lot. “So, yeah, let’s see. It’s going to be interesting. I think even though he’s the No. 1 favorite, I think there are players that can win against him there.
It’s obviously best-of-five, so you’ve got to be really fit to be able to achieve that.”
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Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer have been absolutely dominant at the Grand Slam over the last decade and a half.
A number of players who were tipped to win a Grand Slam never managed to do so — mainly because of the Big 3 dominance. “I think it’s really hard for me to say there is a lost generation. I respect the guys that you mentioned, like Dimitrov and Isner and these guys, Anderson.
You know, I respect them too much and really think of their tennis highly to group them in the lost generation, if you know what I mean,” Djokovic said. “But I get your point. I think obviously there has been a lot of discussion about, you know, the big three, the big four and everything we have achieved and taking, you know, 90% of Grand Slams in the last 10, 15 years.”