Patrick McEnroe has named Carlos Alcaraz as the favourite to win the French Open in 2023, stating that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are ‘out of form’.
Nadal is the most successful player in the history of Roland-Garros, where he has won a record 14 major singles titles.
The 36-year-old is the current champion – having beat Casper Ruud in last year’s final – and he has only ever lost three matches at the event, winning 112 times.
But there are serious question marks over whether or not Nadal will even be able to compete following his withdrawal from this week’s Italian Open.
While his uncle Toni Nadal claims the Spaniard will feature in Paris, he has not played since January’s Australian Open amid long-term injury problems.
If Nadal does play the French Open, McEnroe feels he will not be the favourite for the title this time around, nor will fellow 22-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic.
Djokovic, 35, who has also struggled with injuries, won the first major title of the year at Melbourne Park but his form has taken a significant hit since.
‘In my sport, I’m alone in the court, but there’s a team behind me and without them it would not be possible,’ Alcaraz said in his acceptance speech. ‘I’d like to thank them for everything we’ve been doing together and all the sacrifices and pain we go through.
‘There have been some hard times. The truth is that being able to overcome them with the support of my team and my family and to be able to win and to have this award means a lot to me.’
Carlos Alcaraz’s record compared to ‘The Big Three’ at the same age ð pic.twitter.com/YscSIlRqRo
Meanwhile, tennis legend Roger Federer says it will be ‘brutal’ for tennis if Nadal does not feature at the French Open this year, which starts at the end of May.
‘It would be brutal (Nadal not being there), it would be tough for tennis if Rafa isn’t going to be there,’ Federer told Sky Sports.
‘I still hope so, I saw he pulled out of Rome so I wish him the best. Obviously Novak hasn’t been playing that much so I hope he’s going to be strong as well and then all the young guys coming through as well. I’ll be watching that’s for sure.’
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