May 18, 2023
Djokovic and Nadal both in trouble. It’s not often you read that sentence because they are both such superstars.
But Novak has been knocked out of Rome as he continues to struggle to find a lasting rhythm.
His form has been patchy after an elbow injury – and we warned before he faced Cameron Norrie that he might be there for the taking.
Djokovic safely negotiated that one – but then fell to Holger Rune in the next round.
The Danish star in super-talented and beat the Serb legend 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. No seventh Roman title for Novak.
But he will hope to be a major contender at Roland Garros and believes he can be.
Then of course he will move on to defend the greatest title of them all.
Djokovic is still expected to find his sparkling best at Wimbledon 2023.
Another Grand Slam is what he craves, in order to edge ahead of the wonderful Rafael Nadal’s 22 majors.
Novak knows that his best chance to become the greatest of all time lies at Wimbledon 2023.
But of course he will still believe he has what it takes to win the French Open on clay.
It’s a tall order on current form – but Djokovic has a way of rising to the occasion when it really matters.
That has always been Rafael Nadal’s style at Roland Garros too.
He has won a record 14 titles there, of course. It’s usually Rafa’s fortress.
But today Nadal is expected to announce that his long-standing hip injury has beaten him.
And there must also be doubt as to whether Nadal will be fit enough to play at Wimbledon 2023.
If he doesn’t just retire completely, he will have another six weeks to be ready for the grass of the All England Club.
But he might believe the hard courts of New York and the US Open would be a more realistic target – if indeed he intends to soldier on.
All will become clearer later, but one thing seems certain as the European summer unfolds.
Djokovic will have history at his feet at Wimbledon 2023 – and Centre Court will see some momentous days in July.
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