“There Will Be Other Favourites to Win a Slam”: Former French Open Champion Points Out Rafael Nadal’s Challenges in 2021

Published 12/22/2020, 5:06 AM EST
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his match win over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina on day ten of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 04, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Spain’s Rafael Nadal has won 11 of his 20 Slam titles in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic won 16 of his 17 titles in this past decade alone. This indicates that these two have won 27 of the 40 majors played in the last 10 years. The statistics clearly show their dominance in the men’s game. However, things might change this coming season.


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In 2020, for the first time, Dominic Thiem won the US Open, making it the first major to be won by the new breed of players. During the ATP Finals, he beat both Djokovic and Nadal during the tournament. Even Daniil Medvedev has certainly shown maturity in his game. He has made himself a true challenger in the quest for grand slam glory. 

2018 French Open Tennis Tournament – Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia while playing a tie break doubles exhibition match against Simone Halep of Romania and Alexander Zverev of Germany on Court Philippe Chatrier during a packed Children’s Day at Roland Garros before the start of the 2018 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 26th 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

2021 won’t be only about Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic


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Recently, former grand slam winner, Juan Carlos Ferrero, issued a warning stating that players like Nadal and Djokovic can be threatened in the majors this coming season. He said, “I feel that in 2021 there will be other favorites. There will be other players with increasingly good chances to win Slams. Not just Djokovic and Nadal as it has been before. Thiem would be one of those guys for sure.”

The Spaniard did express the challenges that Nadal or Djokovic could pose, since they know all about the game. After all these years of dominance, they have experience on their side. He said, “Djokovic and Nadal have shown us this year that they still have the ambition. They have the body to compete for the biggest titles in our sport. If they win some more Grand Slam titles it would not be a surprise.”

As the Australian Open 2021 is going to begin in February, all the top seeds including Nadal and Djokovic will surely make their presence felt. With Federer coming back on tour after the new breed of players has stepped up their games, it’ll be interesting to see the first major of the new year. 


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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.