Tennis legend Martina Navratilova backs men’s and women’s top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams to win the French Open which gets underway on May 22 at Roland Garros.
The 59-year-old Navratilova said, while speaking on a tennis podcast on the International Business Times website, that people were quick to write players off when struggling with injuries or taking time off as is the case with Serena.
The world number one looks to be in good form after winning the Rome Masters title this past weekend, her first title of 2016, when defeating countryman Madison Keys in the final.
“To those people doubting Serena Williams, writing her off – do not do that to a champion,” said Navratilova. “It was quite a drought, and she hasn’t played that much this year, but she came back with a vengeance, played great tennis, as well as she has on clay, and she is the big favourite going into the French Open.”
Navratilova added that when Serena loses it’s an exception and feels that her recent win in Rome is an indication that she is hungry to do well in Paris.
“Serena has been at the top, winning Grand Slams more than anyone consistently, for the last four years. When she loses it’s an exception. When the other players win, it’s an exception.
“Serena is now healthy, hungry, eager and fresh. She’s match-tough after Rome, but still fresh, that’s a tough combination, and it will be hard for anyone to beat her.”
On the men’s side, while people are talking about Rafael Nadal’s return to form ahead of the second grand slam of the year, Navratilova says she will not be betting against Djokovic winning his first French Open title despite his loss over the weekend to Andy Murray in the final of the Rome Masters.
“Rafael Nadal is the big wild card, and Djokovic will hope he isn’t in the same half, but even though Djokovic has yet to win the French Open, he is still the favourite. I would not be betting against him.”