Rafael Nadal’s triumph at the Australian Open may have changed the hierarchy in the GOAT race. Arriving in Australia amidst a thousand uncertainties, the Spanish champion has achieved one of the most unexpected feats of his entire career.
There is no doubt that the Majorcan benefited from the absence of Novak Djokovic, unable to defend the title due to the well-known vaccination issue. The number 1 in the world did not play his favorite tournament, where he would go hunting for his 10th seal.
Given the gradual relaxation of restrictions, the Serbian should regularly take part in the clay court season. France abolished the vaccination pass several weeks ago, so Nole will have no problem playing Roland Garros. The 34-year-old from Belgrade will be called upon to defend the title he won last year, while Nadal will try to reach 22 Grand Slams.
The 35-year-old Majorcan broke his rib during the Indian Wells Masters 1000, which is why he will have to skip the first rounds on red. In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Patrick Mouratoglou underlined the enormous importance of Roland Garros 2022.
Mouratoglou on the 2022 French Open
“The clay season is going to be unbelievable. First there is going to be so much on the line because who wins Roland Garros is going to be the key,” the Frenchman told his YouTube channel.
“If it is Rafael Nadal then he is going to have two more Grand Slams than Novak. If it is Novak Djokovic they go equal and Novak has 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 this season.
If you look at the start of the season and the global situation, Novak has the lead for me. He is winning more Grand Slams than anyone every year so he is the huge favourite to win the most Grand Slams”. Mouratoglou continued: “Because of this Covid story he [Djokovic] was not able to play for most of the year so he is lacking a lot of matches.
On the other hand, Rafa gained so much confidence as Novak was not playing, he won almost everything. You had Novak with a big advantage [at the start] and with what happened, Rafa now has the edge, but then Rafa gets injured so he is not going to be able to play enough this year and then it comes back to a balance.
If Novak is going to win everything until Rafa gets back from injury, that would be a game changer as then you would have Novak full of confidence back. But it won’t be easy when you don’t play matches like he did the past month – the little he played he lost early – it is not easy, even for Novak.”