Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic ATP

Novak Djokovic ‘huge favourite’ to beat Rafael Nadal to GOAT status, top coach claims

Patrick Mouratoglou thinks the French Open will provide a “key moment” in Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s race to retire as the greatest player of all time.

Whilst Nadal boasts the most Grand Slam titles with 21, his rib injury could allow Djokovic to level the tally at the upcoming French Open.

As a result of remaining unvaccinated against Covid-19, Djokovic hasn’t featured since the Dubai Championships in February meaning he’s significantly lacking match fitness.

As things stand, Djokovic is allowed to participate at the French Open but this could be curtailed should Covid cases begin to rise again.

In a social media post, Mouratoglou said “I think the clay season’s going to be unbelievable! There’s so much on the line.

“If it’s Rafa, he has two Grand Slams more than Novak. If it’s Novak, they go equal and Novak has a better chance than Rafa on grass. This battle between those two for the number of Grand Slam titles is unbelievable. So Roland Garros can be a key in this season.

“Novak has the lead for me. He’s winning more Grand Slams than anyone every year, so he’s the huge favourite to win more Grand Slams than anyone.

“But, because of Covid he wasn’t able to play most of the year, so he’s lacking matches. On the other hand, Rafa gained so much confidence because as Novak wasn’t playing he won almost everything.

“You had Novak who had a big advantage and with what happened, Rafa had the edge. But then Rafa gets injured so he’s not going to be able to play enough this year. And then it comes back to a balance.

“Is Novak going to be able to win everything until Rafa comes back from his injury? That would be a game-changer because then you’d have Novak with full confidence back,” the Frenchman questioned.

“So this is a key, what’s going to happen in the next weeks with Novak will give us a taste of the chances of Novak and Rafa in Roland Garros.”

“I think for Rafa it’s going to be tough. The fact he cannot play many tournaments before Roland Garros is going to be a big hurdle.

“If you think about Roland Garros now, it’s the most open [it’s been] for the last 10 to 15 years,” he claimed.

“If Novak is able to win a lot between the start of the clay season and Roland Garros, then it won’t be that open because when Novak is at his top, even on clay, I think he’s the best player in the world.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.