Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic is ‘not at his best’ going into the French Open, and that could open the door for other challengers to Rafael Nadal’s crown.
Djokovic’s form has been inconsistent since winning the Australian Open, with him suffering shock defeats to Dan Evans in Monte-Carlo and Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, meanwhile, have bagged a clay Masters title each, and Becker believes both are arguably better positioned to challenge at the French Open at the moment than the world number one – although things can quickly change.
Speaking on the Das Yellow vom Ball Eurosport podcast, Becker said: “I think [Stefanos] Tsitsipas is very strong, I think [Andrey] is very strong.
“Thiem is not in good shape for me yet. Something is not quite right.
“Djokovic also lost early in Monte Carlo and in Belgrade. He’s not at his best either. The tournament in Rome is extremely important for him.”
One man looking like he is in great form right now is Alexander Zverev, with him beating Rafael Nadal in Madrid and narrowly losing out to him in Rome.
And, according to Becker, it shows that he is at least able to compete with Nadal on clay, and that is a good basis for a strong French Open.
“It is a question of little things, like the draw or the physique,” Becker explained. “How do you survive the first round? Who is your first high-ranked opponent?
“All of that plays a role, but I have him (Zverev) absolutely on the list that he can win [the tournament]. Clearly, beating Nadal on clay in Spain – not everyone can do that.”
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