French Open star disagrees with Novak Djokovic when asked Rafael Nadal question
Novak Djokovic is one of the favourites to win the French Open after Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal.
Holger Rune has disagreed with Novak Djokovic by insisting that the Serb is the favourite to win the French Open. Djokovic has already played down his prospects of winning a 23rd Grand Slam and predicted that Spanish starlet Carlos Alcaraz will triumph in Paris.
Alcaraz won the US Open at the end of last year, announcing himself on the world stage with his first success at a major. The 20-year-old has since won at Indian Wells, along with a host of other tournaments, and has reclaimed his spot as the World No 1.
However, Danish World No 6 Rune believes Djokovic remains the favourite in France after winning his 22nd slam at the Australian Open in January. The debate over who will win the French Open has mounted after Rafael Nadal, a 14-time winner at Roland Garros, pulled out through injury.
“I think for sure it’s more open as Rafa is not here, but again, we still have Novak, we have Alcaraz,” Rune said after beating Christopher Eubanks. “I think still Novak must be the favourite as he has 22 Grand Slam, and so much experience in these tournaments.
“So for sure it’s open, because Rafa, it’s more open because Rafa has won here 14 times, I think. So he would be the main favourite if he was here.
“But yeah, of course the draw is more open than it would be if Rafa was here. Now I saw Daniil, he lost today. Yeah, anything can happen.”
Rune’s comments go against what Djokovic believes will happen. The veteran appeared to put all the pressure on Alcaraz by claiming that the youngster was the ‘bigger favourite’.
“Because he’s No 1 in the world, and he’s a player that won big titles on clay this season,” Djokovic said.
“So right now, he is the biggest favourite regardless of the fact that he has one Grand Slam and I have 22. We look at the last few months and the kind of shape and the form that he’s having and that I’m having, I think he’s a slightly bigger favourite.”
Djokovic could meet Alcaraz in the semi-final of the French Open. Both opened the tournament with wins over Aleksandar Kovacevic and Flavio Cobolli, respectively.