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Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ‘question marks’ raised as French Open reign tipped to end



Chris Evert believes Carlos Alcaraz is “primed” to win the French Open with both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic having to prove their fitness over the next few weeks. It’s been a long road to recovery for Nadal since the Australian Open and he’s still yet to make his comeback on the courts.

It’s just a couple of weeks now until the French Open gets underway on May 29 and doubts are being raised on whether Nadal will be fit enough to compete. Djokovic has also struggled with an elbow injury of late and is just 2-2 in matches on clay this season.

In contrast, Alcaraz has been a man on a mission in recent weeks, winning back-to-back titles in Barcelona and Madrid having also clinched the Indian Wells win back in March. Nobody is heading into the French Open in better form with Alcaraz the strong favourite now over both Nadal and Djokovic.

If both the tennis icons are fit and healthy, Evert feels it could be a different story. But the 18-time Grand Slam champion is finding it tough to look past Alcaraz winning his first French Open title.

Hopefully everybody is healthy, it seems like a lot of the players have been injured recently,” she told Eurosport. “When I look at the men – looking at Novak and Rafa with question marks over their health – these two have been the greatest claycourt players in the last few years.

As they get older, they’re getting a little bit injured and we just don’t know what their status is going to be. I think Alcaraz is just primed for this title. He has to stay healthy because he’s been playing a lot and I know he’s got the ab and the groin that tend to bother him.

But I, like everybody else, jumps on the bandwagon when you talk about Carlos because he’s phenomenal. I feel like we’ve never seen this versatile a player with so much passion and so much hunger in such a long time.

“The guy has it all. He’s got the skillset, he knows defence, he knows offence, he moves unbelievable. He has no weaknesses. If he keeps himself healthy and hungry, the title is his.

“In saying that, wouldn’t it be great to see Alcaraz and a healthy Nadal. Second only to Novak and Carlos.” Djokovic returns to action on Friday when he takes on Tomas Martin Etcheverry at the Italian Open.

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