Requested without delay who he is backing to pop out on top at the very last Sunday at the 2022 French Open, Eurosport professional John McEnroe picked international No. 1 Novak Djokovic – however only with a “very mild” facet over thirteen-time champion at Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal. McEnroe stated after thinking about the decision: “absolutely to me, if I had to select a man I’d nevertheless select him [Djokovic]. Moderate, very slight!”
John McEnroe has given his prediction for the French Open men’s singles title, and he believes that Novak Djokovic has a slight edge over Rafael Nadal.
World No. 1 Djokovic could be set to face his great rival in the quarter-finals in what is a very lopsided men’s draw at Roland-Garros with rising Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz also in that half of the bracket and a potential opponent in the semi-finals.
Despite the fact that the Serb has been declared the favourite to defend his title on the red dirt in Paris after he defeated Nadal in the semi-finals last year, it is far from a formality with the Serb having missed the Australian Open due to his unvaccinated status.
Djokovic, who leads the pair’s head-to-head record 30-28, is a “very slight” pick for Eurosport expert McEnroe, who was asked about the pair’s ferocious rivalry and who he believes will come out on top in the final on June 5 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I don’t think we have to worry a whole lot about Rafa at Roland-Garros, if you look at his record, it’s crazy, it’s insane how good it is. 13 times he has won this, so it is all about if he is feeling good physically,” said McEnroe.
“If he is feeling good physically, even Novak says he is the favourite because he wants to take a little pressure off himself – you always say ‘the other guy is going to win’. Nadal has won it 13 times and Novak has won it twice – who do you think the favourite is if they are both healthy?
“I know that Novak beat him last year in the semis, Rafa did not play for six months. All of a sudden, they go to Australia where everyone is saying Novak is going to break the record and guess what? They don’t even let him play, they throw him out of the country.
“Rafa Nadal wins the Australian Open after not playing for six months. These guys are incredible. Amazing. So it is going to be tough to beat them.
“I’m not sure he [Djokovic] is at his best level, but he is getting close to it. Novak has a way of fuelling these situations into something positive – that is very hard to do.
“All of a sudden he [Djokovic] loses to Alcaraz [in Madrid], what’s happening? Well, he wins Rome; now it looks like, there is Novak Djokovic – he’s back! He’s 35, in incredible shape.”
Asked directly who he is backing to triumph on the final Sunday, McEnroe said: “Certainly to me, if I had to pick a guy I’d still pick him. Slight, very slight!”
Interestingly a few days ago, Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, surprisingly backed the “incredible” Nadal as the favourite with quotes many viewed as attempting to lift pressure off his charge.
“When I saw the draw, to be honest, I said, ‘okay, Nadal is going to get to the final’, and so Novak was out,” Ivanisevic told L’Equipe.
“For me, there is only one favourite at Roland Garros and that is Nadal. Even with what has happened with his foot in Rome, I always think that.
“Injured, not injured, he is always the favourite here. It is his home, his court. He knows all the good bounces, all the bad bounces, every nook and cranny.
“Whether he plays well or badly, under the sun or not, it changes nothing. Rafa is incredible. I have enormous respect for him.
“In the final [of the Australian Open], [Daniil] Medvedev could not close the match and you must never do that against Rafa! Anyway, I said seven or eight years ago that Rafa and Novak would have more than 20 Grand Slam titles, and we are there with Nadal.”
Ivanisevic will certainly hope that we will be there with Djokovic too by the end of this fortnight with his charge looking to level with Nadal on 21 Grand Slam singles titles.