The great tennis players John McEnroe, Chris Evert label Novak Djokovic as a favorite for the Australian Open

MUMBAI: Rafael Nadal He may be positioned at the top of the world rankings and will surely receive many reminders during the next fortnight that he is only one away from matching his great rival Roger Federer Launch of 20 Grand Slams, but the Spaniard will not be the man to beat when he enters the Australian Open . That tag rests on the shoulders of the male defending champion Novak Djokovic according to tennis the great John McEnroe and Chris Evert.

2019 was one of the most rewarding seasons of Nadal's career, as he extended his Grand Slam count to 19 after winning his 12th French Open and his fourth title in the US Open. UU. . However, Sunday's ATP Cup final between Serbia and Spain would have given Nadal a severe reminder of the enormity of the challenge before him if he wants to achieve history at the Grand Slam opening season. That tie saw the Mallorcan lose to Djokovic for the ninth consecutive time on a hard court. Even more alarming for Nadal, each of those defeats has been consecutive.

While Thursday's draw means that the main seed may have to fight Djokovic or Federer for the title and not both, Nadal has also lost his last three hard court meetings with the Swiss in straight sets.

The question arises, is there anything I can do to stop this negative trend against its two biggest rivals? I think he is getting good advice, McEnroe told reporters during a conference call. He has tried to shorten points. It has tried to be more explosive. He has tried to get a little more in his service. He has tried to advance further. He has changed position when he returns, he mixes everything. I think adding (Carlos) Moya was a great decision. It has helped him to hear something different from his uncle (Toni), even though his uncle did a great job.

“He’s doing absolutely everything he can. I mean, Djokovic is arguably the greatest hard court player in the history of tennis . So the surface suits him just the way if Nadal plays Novak on clay, it heavily favours Rafa. When they both bring their A games on hard courts, I don’t see Rafa beating Novak if Novak is playing his best. I don’t see anyone beating Novak if he plays even close to that level,” added the seven time Grand Slam singles champion before summarising Nadal’s hard court struggles against Djokovic with a candid remark. “It’s extremely difficult to be able to succeed against a guy who has the answers to everything you’re trying to do.”

Evert, who, along with McEnroe, will be working as an ESPN analyst for the Australian Open which starts on Monday, concurred. “I don’t think there isn’t anything that Rafa hasn’t tried. I think he’s tried everything, and he’s throwing the kitchen sink at Djokovic and it’s still not working. So kudos to Nadal for making those adjustments and tweaking everything in his game, but Novak is just a machine,” said Evert.

It’s hard to keep Federer, Nadal and Djokovic out of any tennis conversation, but Evert believes had social media been around in her era, the likes of McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Mats Wilander would have been “much bigger” personalities than the current Big Three’ of men’s tennis . “I was talking to somebody the other day about social media — we were talking about how Roger, Nadal, Djokovic, the top three, how big they are, and I said, you know, with social media and the difference in the press nowadays, in my era there was Wilander, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, and those three would have been much bigger than these three because of personality and because of charisma and because of, yeah, at times, tempers. But they would have been rock stars and rock idols in this day and age,” said Evert.

The leveling court record in Australia will stimulate Serena: Evert

Like Nadal, on the women's side, Serena Williams is also a Grand Slam title victory away from leveling the all-time main title record (24) held by Australian legend Margaret Court. However, at 38, it seems that Williams is running out of time, who lost the four Slam finals he has played on his return from giving birth to his first child. But Evert, 18-time singles Grand Slam champion, is not yet ready to rule out the possibilities of his compatriot. Well, he reached the final of four of them, yes, he can win a Grand Slam, Evert said. She is still on a mission. He is 23 years old. He wants to break Margaret Court's (record), and maybe in Australia he wants to break it (level it up) even more because Margaret is Australian. Who knows! But I think that really gives him a little more incentive knowing that he can set another record and even break it. ”