Novak Djokovic: ‘Injured, not injured, Rafael Nadal is always the favourite at Roland Garros’

Novak Djokovic has dismissed the suggestion he is the favourite for Roland Garros, insisting Rafael Nadal is the still the man to beat – whether he’s injured or not.

Djokovic is the defending champion at the French Open, with him beating Nadal in the semi-finals last year.

Nadal, meanwhile, started the season in brilliant form, winning the Australian Open before being forced onto the sidelines by a cracked rib in Indian Wells.

Since his return he has also appeared to have suffered a recurrence of the degenerative foot injury that kept him out for much of last season, with him visibly limping in defeat to Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

That has seen many install Djokovic as their favourite to win Roland Garros this year, but he himself is having none of that.

“For me, there is only one favourite at Roland Garros and that is Nadal,” Djokovic said ahead of the first round matches.

“Even with what has happened with his foot in Rome, I always think that.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal French Open Roland Garros

“Injured, not injured, he is always the favourite here. [Roland Garros] is his home, [Philippe-Chatrier is] 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.”

Should Novak Djokovic successfully defend his French Open title this year, he will join Rafael Nadal on a record 21 career Grand Slam crowns.

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