By winning his tenth Australian Open, Novak Djokovic hooked Rafael Nadal at the top of the all-time Grand Slam rankings. In addition to winning his 22nd Major, Nole also returned to the top of the ATP rankings by ousting Carlos Alcaraz from the throne after a 20-week reign.
The eternal struggle between the two will be repeated at Roland Garros, scheduled on the red clay of Paris at the end of May. Novak and Rafa are going through very different moments: the 35-year-old from Belgrade is on the crest of the wave and seems fresher than ever, while the Spaniard suffers a new injury.
The 36-year-old from Manacor was knocked out in the second round of the Australian Open and suffered a second-degree ileus-psoas injury. The Spaniard will have to remain in the pits for about two months and could return directly to the red clay of Monte Carlo.
In the latest edition of the ‘Court-Side with Beilinson Tennis’ podcast, the well-known journalist Steve Flink assured that it will not be easy for Nadal to win his 15th Roland Garros.
Steve Flink on Nole Djokovic
«I think Novak Djokovic would have a very good chance.
Obviously, going in, Rafa has to be the favorite on that pitch. But Novak knows what he can do,» he said. Maybe, they could end up in opposite halves with some good luck because wouldn’t it be amazing to see them collide in the final again at Roland Garros with both playing well? Flick said.
«I want to say that they have had some wonderful matches at Roland Garros over the years. My hope is that we can see them in the final this year.» «He is the second best clay court player in the world. I strongly believe that and it is not inconceivable,» Flink said.
«Yes, he has lost some decisive moments to Rafa. But he has also beaten him a couple of times on that court, which is remarkable, even two years ago, when he was in the semifinals before coming back against Rafa.» [Stefanos] Tsitsipas in the final.
Novak came from a set down to beat Rafa in that epic semifinal they had,» he added. Novak Djokovic will seek more information on his much-analyzed hamstring injury in the coming days, but still plans to return to court in Dubai at the end of February.
“As it stands today, I am still registered for the [ATP 500] Dubai tournament, which is in a month [from February 27]and I hope to be able to return to the courts in several weeks”.