Tennis legend Jim Courier recently shared his assessment in terms of the Grand Slam race for the ‘Big 3’ in the upcoming year. He feels that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are still capable of adding more feathers to their cap. Courier feels that Nadal is still the favourite to beat in Roland Garros 2022 whereas Djokovic will be the man to beat in all the other Grand Slams next year.
The famous trio of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are currently tied at 20 Grand Slams each and it is the highest number of majors in Men’s tennis. The Serb bagged three Majors last season whereas Nadal missed out on all of them for the first time since 2016.
Meanwhile, Federer won his last Grand Slam title back in 2018 at the Australian Open.
In a conversation with the Tennis Channel, Courier highlighted how Rafael Nadal’s return is important as he also picked the 13 time French Open winner to be the favourite for the 2022 edition. It will be interesting to see how he copes up with the chronic foot injury that he suffered during the Roland Garros this year.
“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 favourite at Roland Garros – slightly, slightly, slightly over Novak in my opinion – assuming they’re both healthy.”
Courier also made it clear that there is no one more likely than Djokovic to bag home the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles next year. However, he also rates Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev very highly and feels that they are pretty close to the Serb’s level on hard courts.
“Novak is probably the favourite 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 ended the year on an impressive note as they won the Nitto ATP Finals. The german first defeated Novak Djokovic in the semifinals before crushing defending champion Daniil Medvedev 6-4,6-4 in the finals. The young German also won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics where he again defeated Djokovic in the semifinals. He also won titles at Cincinnati and Vienna and will surely be a tough nut to crack in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Medvedev has also shown his quality by winning the US Open, which was his first major title in the Russian’s career. He has also shown unreal consistency to match his talent and will be a major force in Australia next year.