Rafael Nadal heavily backed to beat Novak Djokovic in Grand Slam duel ahead of Wimbledon

Rafa Nadal reacts to winning French Open at Roland-Garros

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Rafael Nadal has been widely backed by Express Sport readers to pip Novak Djokovic in their ongoing battle to win the most Grand Slam titles after the Spaniard’s latest victory at the French Open earlier this month. Nadal secured a comfortable straight-sets win over Casper Ruud in the final to rubber-stamp his 22nd career Grand Slam triumph and move two ahead of Djokovic, who has not won a major tournament since claiming the top prize at Wimbledon last year.

The Serb was beaten by Nadal in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, with the latter going on to progress at the expense of Alexander Zverev in their last-four meeting before wrapping up the title with a stunning performance against Ruud. It seems as though Nadal is now the overwhelming favourite to emerge as the most decorated male star of his generation, with 73.9 per cent of Express Sport readers backing him to win more Grand Slam events than Djokovic before calling time on their respective careers.

However, a decent chunk of fans still believe that Djokovic will manage to claw his way ahead of Nadal before the pair eventually decide to call it quits. 26.1 per cent of respondents were reluctant to write off the man from Belgrade, who will undoubtedly be among the favourites to win at Wimbledon when the tournament gets underway later this month.

Nadal and Djokovic played out a true classic in the quarter-finals of this year’s French Open, with the former eventually claiming the spoils after his Serbian rival came out fighting in the second before forcing a final-set tiebreak. Nadal wasted no time in putting the pressure on Djokovic in the battle for greatness after the match, though, by pointing out the 35-year-old’s lack of chronic injury problems.

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“Anything can happen,” said Nadal when quizzed on his Grand Slam record after his latest win over Djokovic. “Clearly, Novak is in the best position to be able to beat that because he has no physical problems, and he’s playing at a spectacular level.”

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Djokovic will be able to go within one title of Nadal by winning at Wimbledon later this year despite the lack of ranking points on offer at the All England Club. His coach, Goran Ivanisevic, has already backed him to deliver the goods in SW19 and believes that he will have the edge over Nadal on his favoured surface over the course of the tournament.

“He is the biggest favourite at Wimbledon, just like Rafa was here,” Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors at the French Open. “Novak now needs to rest well and prepare for Wimbledon physically and mentally.

“I am sure that he can do it and I think he will win Wimbledon, I have a good feeling about that. He needs to focus on grass now.

“As I have said in the past, Novak is a genius with a different mindset than most of us. Even though he needs less time than most to come back and to figure some things out, he still needs to do it.

“He has overcome tough losses in the past, and I am completely certain that he will be ready for Wimbledon.”


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