French Open 2024: Novak Djokovic Backs Rafael Nadal To Win The Roland-Garros Despite Fitness Woes

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Novak Djokovic expressed that Rafael Nadal remains his favourite to win the French Open, despite the 14-time champion's ongoing fitness struggles in the later stages of his career. Djokovic, currently the world number one, is competing in the Geneva Open as he prepares for the year's second Grand Slam in Paris. He emphasized that even with Nadal's injury issues and the rising competition from younger players, Nadal's presence in the French Open draw makes him a formidable contender.

“This year is more open,” Djokovic said to reporters at the Parc des Eaux-Vives in Geneva.“Casper Ruud is among the top five contenders, along with Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas-players who have won major tournaments on clay this year. But when Nadal is in the Roland-Garros draw, he's always the biggest favorite for me. Considering his incredible achievements on those courts, it's natural to regard him as the top contender. Even though his current form is different, it's still Roland-Garros, and it's still Nadal.”

Djokovic added that he considers himself a strong contender as well, provided he feels good and plays well. He acknowledged his recent form issues and took a wild card to compete in Geneva to regain his form ahead of his French Open title defense. This Swiss clay court event, featuring 28 players, serves as his final warm-up before heading to Paris.

Despite not having won a title this season, a first since 2018 unless he triumphs in Geneva, Djokovic remains determined to play at the highest level. "I'm searching for my highest possible level," he said. "It's not an obligation. It's truly my desire, my passion, my love for tennis. That's the most important thing for me."

Djokovic also mentioned his familiarity with Geneva, where he has family ties, although he has never played at the Geneva Tennis Club.“At this moment, there is no better practice for me than match play. I feel like I need more matches to find the form I need for Roland-Garros,” he stated.

He also enjoyed a local football match, witnessing Young Boys win the Swiss championship. Djokovic shared that his connection to Servette, the hosting team, stems from a personal link-his cousin is set to marry Servette player Timothe Cognat, and his best friend and wedding best man, Neven Markovic, previously played for the club.

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