Robson announces retirement from tennis aged 28 after injury hell
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Tim Henman has named Rafael Nadal as the favourite to win the French Open. However, the former British number one has suggested two players who will present the toughest challenge to the Spaniard’s quest for a 14th slam crown in the French capital – the world number one Novak Djokovic and teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
The 35-year-old is aiming to win a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title and reclaim the crown at his beloved Roland Garros. However, a chronic foot injury has been causing the Spaniard problems of late, which is why Djokovic and Alcaraz are more fancied by many than the 13-time winner in Paris.
“I think if Rafa’s foot is healthy – given his record there – you have to make him a very slight favourite, but very close behind him I would have Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz,” Henman told Eurosport.
Despite his fitness concerns, Nadal is focused on playing his best tennis to give himself the best chance to win another title in the French capital. “It (the foot injury) is something that I live every day with, so is nothing new for me and is not a big surprise,” Nadal said. “So I am here just to play tennis and to try to make the best result possible here in Roland Garros, no? And if I don’t believe that this thing can happen, probably I will not be here.”
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Henman was full of praise for Alcaraz, who has taken 2022 by storm, capturing four titles to move into the top 10 in the world rankings. Alcaraz became the first man to beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in consecutive matches on clay before becoming the youngest player to lift the title in the Spanish capital. “His confidence is incredible,” Henman said. “It’s going to be a very, very interesting tournament.
“I really believe that Alcaraz can win the French Open. I watched him play in Miami, which was obviously on hard courts, but his movement, his speed, his balance, the power that he’s generating with his groundstrokes, is incredible. His attitude on top is amazing. So for him to have won Barcelona and Madrid also, he goes into Roland Garros as one of the favourites in my mind.”
Djokovic, who begins his French Open campaign against Yoshihito Nishioka on Monday, is feeling confident about his chances of defending his title.
“I feel I am always in that contention to fight for any grand slam trophy,” he said. “I believe in my own abilities to get far and to fight for one of the most prestigious trophies in the world of tennis. As a defending champion, of course, more so, to believe I can do it again.”
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