When asked about Roland Garros, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga replied that Rafael Nadal was his top favorite. He also remembered to praise the 13-time champion and his record in Paris. Rafael Nadal debuted in 2005 in Paris, winning the title only a few days after turning 19 and forging his path towards tennis legends.
Of the previous 16 Roland Garros appearances, Nadal bagged 13 titles and dealt with only two losses. The first against Robin Soderling in 2009 and the second against Novak Djokovic in 2015. After disappointing runs in 2015 and 2016, Rafael returned at his best at his Favorite Major, taking home four straight titles and matching Roger Federer’s record of 20 major crowns last October.
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Nadal had to undergo harsh conditions in the French Capital last October with no form or matches in his legs. To top it off, the cold and rainy weather a roof above Court Philippe Chatrier didn’t help. However, Rafael passed all these obstacles and beat all seven rivals in straight sets to create history in the sports world. He dominated the opening four rounds toppling, Diego Schwartzman, Jannik Sinner, and Novak Djokovic, wrapping up the event in style.
Rafael then traveled to Paris with the same momentum, claiming the tenth Rome Open Crown against Novak Djokovic and aiming for another at his beloved Major in the opening weeks of June.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said, “Rafael is an inevitable favorite at Roland Garros. No one can doubt that at the moment; even those who can beat him on clay have to agree with that. Rafael has won 13 titles in Paris within 15 years; it’s extraordinary. Nadal and Djokovic restored the order in Rome and showed they are still the favorites at Majors. Rafael is five years younger than Roger, and it’s exceptional that he has already matched Roger’s 20 Major titles. If Rafael wins more crowns in the upcoming years, and that’s very likely, the GOAT debate should be over.”
Novak Djokovic Says Rafael Nadal Deserves a Separate Discussion
In 2020, Novak Djokovic went into the French Open with some jaw-dropping form (26-1, W-L) and way more practice than Rafael Nadal. However, the Serb knew well that none of this mattered on clay as long as the Spaniard is fit to contend. With a nearly 98 percent win rate at the Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal proves to be virtually unbeatable on the brick dust of Paris. It makes all the practice and form that Novak Djokovic brings in irrelevant.
Rafael Nadal only had the Rome Masters to get himself prepared for his defense of the French Open title. Nevertheless, Novak Djokovic believed that wouldn’t impact the Spaniard from pushing forward to the finals. The Serb also added at that time that Nadal was every claycourt tournament’s favorite player. What’s more, according to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal deserves a separate discussion due to his absolute dominance on the turf. Novak also thinks Nadal has the added advantage of having been practicing on the turf for more than a month.
Even amidst his four final appearances, including one title at Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic thinks Rafael will be the favorite for the title. As for the next choice, the two-time finalist at Paris Dominic Thiem is Novak’s best pick for the title.
Novak Djokovic’s Biggest Goal is to Overcome Roger Federer’s Record
It isn’t surprising news that Novak Djokovic greatly admires records and achievements. The star player has always worked hard to be the best, and according to him, his best form can only be reached when he breaks Roger Federer’s all-time Grand Slam record.
Only three titles behind the Swiss, Novak is well-positioned to seize that record in the next few years. Additionally, Roger is nearly in the closing stages of his career. So, it seems highly unlikely that he will be able to build an undefeatable lead at the top.
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