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Rafael Nadal is still the favorite at Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic is "probably the favorite everywhere else": Jim Courier

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after their epic 2021 French Open semifinal
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after their epic 2021 French Open semifinal
Ewan West
CONTRIBUTOR

Jim Courier recently gave his views on the Slam race among the Big 3, opining that both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would likely add to their tallies next year. Heading into 2022, Courier sees Nadal as the Roland Garros favorite and Djokovic as the man to beat at the other three Grand Slam events.

The legendary trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are currently tied at 20 Major titles, which is the all-time record in men's tennis. In 2021 Djokovic won three Slams, but Nadal missed out on a Major for the first season since 2016.

Federer's last Grand Slam triumph, meanwhile, came at the 2018 Australian Open.

In a conversation with Tennis Channel, Courier gave his assessment of Nadal's chances and picked the 13-time French Open champion as the favorite for the 2022 edition of the event. The Spaniard suffered a foot injury at Roland Garros in June and cut his season short after making just one more appearance - at the Citi Open in August.

"For Rafa, how is he going to respond?" Courier continued. "How is his foot going to respond after sitting out a lot of this season trying to fix that after it went out on him at Roland Garros? He's still the favorite at Roland Garros - slightly, slightly, slightly over Novak in my opinion - assuming they're both healthy."

<a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/player/alexander-zverev' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Alexander Zverev</a> and Novak Djokovic after their 2021 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals semifinal
Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic after their 2021 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals semifinal

Jim Courier also expressed his belief that Novak Djokovic is the favorite to win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles in 2022. The American thinks, however, that Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev are close to the Serb's level on hardcourts given their strong finishes to the season on the surface.

"Novak is probably the favorite everywhere else," Courier added. "Certainly at Wimbledon, but on the hardcourts I think it's narrowed dramatically here with the way this season ended - the way that Zverev has stepped up and Medvedev has stepped up. So I can easily see Rafa and Novak adding one each, maybe two if Novak goes to Australia. But these young guys are hungry and they've narrowed the gap on them."

Zverev defeated Djokovic and Medvedev en route to winning the 2021 ATP Finals last week. The German also saw off Djokovic on his way to winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in August, in addition to claming hardcourt titles in Cincinnati and Vienna.

Medvedev, meanwhile, downed Djokovic in the US Open final to win his first Major title, after having won the Toronto Masters in August. The Russian was also a runner-up in Paris, as well as in Turin last week.

Roger Federer is very realistic about his chances: Jim Courier

Jim Courier and Roger Federer at the 2018 Australian Open - Day 12
Jim Courier and Roger Federer at the 2018 Australian Open - Day 12

Jim Courier further stated that he doesn't expect Roger Federer to add to his Major trophy haul given his injury struggles. Federer is recovering from a third knee surgery in 18 months, and recently revealed he would be surprised if he were to feature at Wimbledon next year.

"Roger, I think is very realistic about his chances," Courier said. "He's talked about maybe not even playing until 2023, so we'll see. We'll have our fingers crossed for him and hope that we get to see him very competitively in the next season."

Edited by Musab Abid
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