French Open: Novak Djokovic criticizes Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

“I don’t miss Nadal and I don’t like seeing him here”

Sunday starts with the French Open in Paris. Superstar Novak Djokovic jokes about Rafael Nadal before the start and gives Carlos Alcaraz the role of favorite.


Florian Gnägi(from Paris)

published28. May 2023, 07:29

Novak Djokovic has won the French Open twice.


If he won again this year, he would overtake Rafael Nadal in terms of Grand Slam titles.

Getty Images

The clay court season is not yet going as planned for Djoker, in Rome he recently lost early to the Dane Holger Rune (ATP 6).


As world number one, of course, one of the absolute top favorites in Paris: Carlos Alcaraz.


Djokovic sees Alcaraz in pole position for the Roland Garros title.


Djokovic lost to Nadal in an epic quarterfinal match at the French Open last year.


Daniil Medvedev recently triumphed in Rome. Will he now also strike in Paris?


  • Sunday starts in Paris with the first round of the French Open.

  • Superstar Novak Djokovic gives Carlos Alcaraz the role of favorite before the tournament.

  • The Serb describes Rafael Nadal’s out as a “shock” and made him think.

Rafael Nadal has won the French Open 14 times since 2005. After his cancellation due to injury, this opens Novak Djokovic’s first chance to overtake his eternal rivals Nadal and Roger Federer in terms of Grand Slam titles. “I don’t miss Rafa. I don’t like seeing him in the draw,” admits the 22-time major title with a smile at a press conference before the start of Roland Garros. Knowing that he lost to the clay court king in Paris eight times.

Djokovic describes the Spaniard’s cancellation of his favorite tournament due to injury as a “shock for everyone”. When Nadal announced the end of his career for 2024, a part of him also left, the Serb says almost poetically. “I managed to beat Nadal twice here in Paris, but I had to leave my heart and soul on the pitch,” said Djokovic, who is himself moved by his opponent’s imminent resignation.

Nadal-Out ging Djokovic nah

“Rafa’s words got me thinking about how long I’ll be playing myself,” reveals the 36-year-old. At the same time, he makes it clear that this is definitely not an announcement of his resignation today. “But when I think about it, I got a little emotional,” said the two-time Paris champion.

The first round games of the Swiss faction in Paris at a glance

Marc-Andrea Hüsler (ATP 81) vs. Daniel Altmaier (ATP 72)
Dominic Stricker (ATP) vs. Tommy Paul (ATP 17)
Stan Wawrinka (ATP 88) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ATP 66)

Belinda Bencic (WTA 12) vs. Elina Avanesyan (WTA 134)
Jil Teichmann (WTA 75) vs. Sara Errani (WTA 70)
Simona Waltert (WTA 127) vs. Elizabeth Mandlik (WTA 118)
Ylena In-Albon (WTA 148) vs. Claire Liu (WTA 100)

Djokovic put a finger in the wound of Swiss tennis fans when he addressed the 2019 Wimbledon final at the press conference. “There I was inferior to Federer in every statistic and still won,” said the Serb, who wanted to emphasize that he could also win games if things didn’t go to his liking.

This has always been the case with the “Djoker” in the current clay court season, also from a physical point of view. The elbow, which often bothered him, should no longer restrict him. “I feel good and have no more problems,” said last year’s Paris quarter-finalist (defeat to Nadal).

«Alcaraz is the favourite»

With the historic Grand Slam title number 23 in sight, the man from Belgrade, who is still hungry for success, will enter the action on Sunday, but will push the role of favorites to the young Carlos Alcaraz. “He’s the biggest favorite because he’s number 1,” said Djokovic succinctly and a little later he added several names like Jannik Sinner or Holger Rune to the list of tournament favorites.

The Dane Rune recently beat Djokovic both at the tournament in Rome immediately before Roland Garros and at the end of last year on hard court in Paris. In three games, the 20-year-old defeated the superstar twice, but lost the only duel in the best-of-5 format at the US Open 2021. Of course, the Serb is also aware of that. “I always feel particularly motivated at Grand Slams,” the world number 3 then sends a small declaration of war in the direction of the competition.

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2023-05-28 05:29:56
#French #Open #Novak #Djokovic #criticizes #Rafael #Nadal


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