Barbara Schett is a retired Austrian professional tennis player and now works as a presenter for Eurosport. She believes that Novak Djokovic’s participation in Melbourne will determine who reaches a record 21st Grand Slam title first.
The Slam title race is now tied between Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Only two of them can attempt to win their 21st title in this Australia Open.
Roger Federer has to wait for the next Grand Slam to attempt to win his 21st Slam.
Barbara Schett Backs Novak Djokovic
Barbara Schett thinks Novak Djokovic will lift his 10th Australian Open crown and record 21st major singles title in Melbourne.
He can only do that if he is given permission to stay in the country for the tournament.
“It all depends if he [Djokovic] can play the Australian Open now or not,” as said by Barbara to Express Sport.
“I mean we all know he’s won the Australian Open that many times, more than anybody else. You would put him in as the favourite obviously.”
Barbara thinks that Rafael Nadal can win his 21st title at the French Open later this year. Even if Novak doesn’t play in the Australia Open this year, Barbara thinks it would be difficult for Rafa to win.
Rafael Nadal is returning back in a Grand Slam after recovering from a foot injury. He won the Melbourne Summer Set this year.
Barbara Has Doubts Regarding Rafael Nadal
The Eurosport presenter doesn’t believe that Rafa will be ready to win a Major title as early as this month.
She still picked him as an early favourite for the French Open later this year, where he is a 13-time champion.
Barbara said, “Rafa Nadal, he won one of the lead-up tournaments. I’m not quite sure if he’s ready yet on a hard court to go all the way at a Grand Slam. But you can never rule him out, he’s super motivated. I would think Rafa Nadal at the French Open is going to be the favourite once again.”
Barbara says that if there is a competition as to who will get to the 21st Grand Slam title first, she thinks it would be Djokovic.
“I think if Novak can play the Australian Open he will still do it because he’ll be super motivated. He will be even more dangerous than before because knowing him, he’s such a fighter. And he wants to show everyone that he’s the best.”
“I still think Novak will be the one who gets there first.”