Without a shadow of a doubt, Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The Serbian’s consistency and ability to play at the top level for the entire year stands him tall above the rest of the tennis world and many actually believe he is already well on the way to eclipsing Roger Federer’s record total of 18 Grand Slam titles. The world number one already has 11 under his belt and a French Open victory at Roland Garros would see him edge ever closer to the legendary Swiss star’s tally.
And although the brilliant Djokovic has never won the clay-based event before, it’s hard to look past him this year. Andy Murray has been distracted after the birth of his first child, Roger Federer isn’t getting any younger and Rafael Nadal has sadly dropped out of contention in most of the Grand Slam events. If Nadal is going to regain his form, it will be at this event but it’s not looking very likely. In fact, he hasn’t advanced past the quarter-finals in any major competition since winning his ninth French Open title back in 2014.
Once again, it looks as though 2016 could be Djokovic’s year. In 2015, he won three of the four Grand Slam events in what is widely regarded as one of the most dominant tennis seasons in the history of the sport. Last year, the Serbian won eight ATP World Tour events. Djokovic truly is at the top of his game right now and he’s an absolute joy to watch when he’s on song.
On his day, British number one Murray can beat Djokovic. Although the Serbian defeated Murray in straight sets in January’s Australian Open final, the world number two has beaten Djokovic in the past and enjoyed plenty of success on the clay court in 2015. It’s hard to imagine Murray defeating Djokovic in this year’s event but you never know. If the Serbian underestimates his opponent then there’s always the chance of a shock result. In addition, it would be foolish to dismiss defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka. The Swiss athlete stunned the tennis world as he toppled Djokovic to spoil his Grand Slam party and, with a bit of luck, he will be there or thereabouts once again in 2016.
If he’s at his imperious best, Djokovic should cruise to the French Open title this year. That is an outcome that would see him move to within six Grand Slam victories of Federer’s tally. The Serbian is desperate to enhance his legacy as one of the greatest players of all-time and, on current form, it’s only a matter of time before he surpasses the likes of Federer, Pete Sampras and Rod Laver in the history books. For Djokovic to truly become the best player in the history of the sport, he MUST win the French Open title at least once – and 2016 could well be his year.