French Open 2022: Novak Djokovic The Man To Beat In Paris

With form and confidence on his side, it looks like the 34-year-old is the man to beat for the highly anticipated tournament in the French capital.

Novak Djokovic in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/ ATP Tour)

World number one Novak Djokovic will take some stopping if he’s to be denied what would be a 21st Grand Slam title by winning the 2022 French Open. While the competition at Roland Garros has not been his favoured major event in the past, the Serbian star did manage to win the title there last year. With form and confidence on his side, it looks like the 34-year-old is the man to beat for the highly anticipated tournament in the French capital.

Djokovic Only Getting Better

While many stars approaching their mid-30s might see the best of their playing days behind them, Djokovic appears to be going from strength to strength. The talented right-hander, who is 7/4 with Betfair on their tennis betting site to win the 2022 French Open, managed to win three of the four Grand Slam events last year. After victories at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, Djokovic just fell short of a clean sweep. Defeat to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2021 US Open saw Djokovic just fall at the final hurdle and he will be determined to get back to winning ways at a Grand Slam event as quickly as possible.

Djokovic has only won two French Open titles, compared to the Aussie Open where he’s won the Melbourne event on nine occasions. Along with the hard courts Down Under, Wimbledon’s grass surface has also suited the Serbian’s game, as he has won the tournament at SW19 six times. The clay surface has proved a challenge in the past for Djokovic, but he seems to be finding some joy on it in recent years.

Questions Remain On Nadal’s Fitness

If one man can stop Djokovic from winning his first Grand Slam of 2022, then it’s his rival Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is undoubtedly the ‘King of Clay’, having won the French Open no fewer than 13 times between 2005 and 2020. Were it not for Nadal’s talents on clay, Djokovic would most likely be streaks ahead when it comes to overall Grand Slam titles in the Open Era.

Even with being a year older than Djokovic, a fully fit Nadal would most likely be the favourite coming into this year’s French Open. However, a chronic foot injury has plagued the Mallorcan and the man himself has explained he’s having to play through the pain barrier this year. On May 12, Nadal crashed out of the Italian Open in the round of 16 and cited his foot problem as an ongoing issue. It was Djokovic who went on to win that tournament in the Italian capital as his preparations for Roland Garros continued on a positive note.

It will be intriguing to see if Nadal, or any of the big names, can challenge Djokovic for the title in Paris. The signs leading into the tournament are ominous for his rivals and it will take something special to deny the in-form and confident Djokovic a hat-trick of French Open titles.

Sportslumo Desk

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