Boris Becker believes Rafa Nadal’s position as king of the clay at Roland Garros could be in jeopardy next week after the Spaniard’s early exit at the Rome Masters.
While acknowledging Nadal was the favourite, Becker said a few other players have a real chance of beating him because of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Even a Rafael Nadal needs match practice, and that’s missing this year,” Becker said.
“He remains my No.1 for the title, but I think the others’ chances are much better this year.
“He usually plays Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome and comes to Paris with a lot of match experience. This year is different.”
The weather could also play its part, according to the German former World No.1, saying the cooler temperatures and chilly late afternoons will play a part.
“These are conditions that don’t suit Nadal,” Becker said.
Meanwhile, his main rival for the French title, Novak Djokovic, is playing down his chances.
“It’s Rafael Nadal. Even though he lost this week, I still think a lot of people will agree, he’s the No. 1 favourite and the record that he has there, the history of his results, you just can’t put anybody in front of him,” Djokovic said.
“Definitely Diego (Schwartzman) showed that Nadal is beatable on clay. The conditions that they played on, obviously heavy clay, not much bounce, humid, night session, we are going to have that as well in Paris.”