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“You can never, absolutely never, write Nadal off” – Bartoli

In the most recent episode of Match Points, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli talks about Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s quest for more Grand Slam glory

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action at Wimbledon in 2019 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action at Wimbledon in 2019 Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Former Wimbledon champion and leading tennis analyst Marion Bartoli says no one should write off the chances of Rafael Nadal from winning a third Wimbledon singles title this fortnight, especially after he won the first two Grand Slams of the season in unexpected fashion.

In the latest podcast episode of Match Points, the Frenchwoman tells host Josh Cohen that she does not want to write off Nadal, especially after he surprised everyone to win the Australian Open in January and the French Open earlier this month.

“At the Australian Open, when he was coming back from injury, none of us gave Nadal a chance there. At Roland-Garros, with everything that happened at Rome, none of us gave him a chance there. I do not want to write him off because he is definitely going to surprise us,” Bartoli said.

“You can never, absolutely never, write him off. He has a tougher draw. Noval (Djokovic) looks to have a slightly easier draw, and again it’s only on paper. As long as Rafa steps on to the court, he goes there because he thinks and he knows he has a chance to win the title.”

The first week is tricky and dangerous especially when you are the overwhelming favourite – Bartoli on Djokovic

Bartoli also says Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to win the men’s title for a seventh time but said that the Serb will need to be focused during the tricky first week at SW19.

“For me, he has found enough momentum through the clay season to go and win the title,” Bartoli said. “For him, the first few matches are the toughest. He knows he is the favourite. I’m looking forward to seeing his first few matches to see his concentration levels. How he moves on the grass. We all know the grass is a lot more slippery in the first week. The first week is tricky and dangerous especially when you are the overwhelming favourite.”

The Frenchwoman added that given the uncertainty surrounding Djokovic’s participation at the US Open in August and next year’s Australian Open, there will be more pressure on him to win this one.

“There is still a question mark about his participation in the US Open this year and the Australian Open next year. He knows if he has to win one, it is at Wimbledon. All that pressure is compiling on him. I just hope the pressure is not too much for him. But we will see.”

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