Former World No. 2 Alex Corretja believes that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will add to their Grand Slam tally in 2021, despite the emergence of younger threats like Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev.
The 2021 ATP season kicks off with events in Antalya and Delray Beach this week, and the race for supremacy in the men's game will be closely watched. The Big 3 - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic - will be hoping to continue their dominance at the Slams, while holding off a pack of contenders led by US Open champion Dominic Thiem.
Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Australian Open, but Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are very much in the fray. And Corretja, while speaking to Eurosport, suggested that both Nadal and Djokovic will remain top contenders not just in Melbourne but also for the rest of the year.
"I honestly think that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are going to continue to be at the top, I would even say that the two will add at least one more Grand Slam," Corretja said.
That said, the two-time Slam finalist does expect the rest of the field to give the Big 3 a tough time. Corretja believes Dominic Thiem's US Open success will fuel him to try and achieve even more glory, and that ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev is close to joining the Grand Slam winner's club.
"As for those who can make a leap, I think Medvedev is very close to winning a Grand Slam tournament and that Thiem will once again be a very tough opponent, especially having the experience of New York already and knowing that he can, that helps very much," Corretja stated. "Dominic has a lot of strength, experience and plays well on all surfaces, it will be very difficult to stop him. I would love for Felix-Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov to also take that step forward, they are two players that I love. Tsitsipas is another who should also do it."
Rafael Nadal will once again be the bulwark in Spanish tennis: Alex Corretja
Alex Corretja, who hails from Spain, predicted another good year for his countrymen on the ATP circuit. And the 46-year-old expects 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal to lead from the front once again.
"Rafa will once again be the bulwark for another year, together with a (Roberto) Bautista Agut and a (Pablo) Carreno Busta on the road to continue consolidating," Corretja went on.
The Spaniard opined that 2021 could be a breakthrough season for 29-year-old Pablo Carreno Busta, who is yet to advance beyond the semifinals at a Slam. He also has an eye out for the talented 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who is already ranked No. 141 in the world.
"I think that Carreno is getting closer and closer to giving a great surprise in the Grand Slam, the 2020 season has been very important for him," Corretja said. "Then there is Carlos Alcaraz who, from what I read and hear, shows that he has an enormous mentality, he thinks big, so we can expect great things from him."Published 07 Jan 2021, 01:43 IST