Boris Becker Doubts Rafael Nadal’s Chances at French Open After Australian Open 2021 Defeat

Published 02/26/2021, 10:32 PM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 17, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


Rafael Nadal is the undisputed King of the French Open. His record 13 titles, including four in the last four years, speaks volumes of his dominance. But, German tennis legend, Boris Becker, believes that the Spaniard’s Paris fairy-tale might not find a happy ending this year.

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The Spanish machine did not get an expected start to his 2021 season. Due to a back injury, he did not participate in the ATP Cup 2021, which resulted in Team Spain’s loss in the semi-finals.

Following that, the 34-year-old picked up his momentum at the Australian Open 2021. He managed to stretch his set-winning streak to 35 before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter-final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Moreover, the Greek World No. 6 pulled off the win after Rafael Nadal was two sets up. For this reason, the six-time Grand Slam champion, Boris Becker, has concerns regarding his outcome in Paris.

“There was definitely some vulnerability in Nadal if we think forward to Paris,” Boris said“His five-set defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas will sting for some time, and could even be a factor at the French Open.”

Read More: ‘Exhilarating 21st Grand Slam’: Toni Nadal Urges Rafael Nadal to Focus on French Open After Australian Open Exit

“Physically Beaten”: Becker on Rafael Nadal

After his shocking defeat, Rafa also withdrew from his next tournament, Rotterdam Open, citing his back injury. It raises serious questions on his longevity this season.

But more than his injury, it was his physicality that took a fall Down Under. The retired German claimed that the other players would take advantage of it.

Boris said, “For the first time I can recall Rafael Nadal looked really tired in that fifth set, he was beaten physically, and the others will have seen that.”

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 17, 2021, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter-final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Indeed, it is a rare occasion when the 20-time Grand Slam champion looks fatigued. In this situation, the clay-court might even present a tough challenge for him to keep his energy levels up.

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“The Spaniard’s style is so physical that it is going to take a toll,” he continued. “I am actually surprised that he has played to this incredibly high level for so long.”

However, Nadal is renowned for making the inconceivable look ordinary and will be the firm favorite at Roland-Garros. Becker concluded, “While it would be foolish to bet against him for Paris, when he gets that little step slower, he will not be the same player.” 

Nadal will join the season later in March at the Miami Open. This will be the test to see if Nadal can overcome his fitness issues or if Becker’s words will come true. 

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Purav Joshi

590 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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