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French Open 2021 Men's Final: Early Predictions for Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 13, 2021

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The legend of Novak Djokovic grows. 

After becoming the first man to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open on more than one occasion—he was already just one of two opponents ever to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, alongside Robin Soderling—he won his second French Open title Sunday, defeating Stefano Tsitsipas in five sets. 

It was the 19th Grand Slam title of Djokovic's career, putting him just one behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the career leaderboard. And it put the rest of the ATP on notice for the upcoming Wimbledon, where Djokovic will be the favorite at the All England Club.

No surprises there. Djokovic is the two-time defending champion and has won the event five times overall. Dating back to 2018, he's also won seven of the past 13 Grand Slam titles. 

There's little doubt that Djokovic is the top player in the men's game at the moment. That makes betting against him at Wimbledon a risky proposition. 

Of course, there's always the looming threat of Federer. The star withdrew before the fourth round of the French Open, citing health concerns, but is gunning for Wimbledon—a tournament he's won a record eight times. 

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On Friday, Federer spoke to reporters about his health and his plans for the grass season:

"March was still very early days for my comeback but I just felt like it was a good time to come back. I thought that Doha actually went extremely well overall because I know my expectations were close to zero over there. So I'm happy I was able to play two competitive matches over there.
"Ever since I've only seen improvement, no setbacks. After I guess the two operations I have to be extremely careful with every move I do. But now it's really go time. This is essentially where the season really hopefully starts for me."

A Djokovic-Federer showdown at Wimbledon would be a delight. And of course, Nadal isn't to be dismissed either, though he didn't commit to playing at Wimbledon when asked about his plans. 

"I don't know what I'll do in my future. ... The body after so much struggle usually suffers a slump," he told reporters. "Wimbledon this year is in two weeks. It's different from when I was 25 years old. I am 35 and you have to see how I recover in every way."

Nadal will surely make every effort to play in London. But a compressed schedule offers no such guarantees. 

As for the other contenders Djokovic will potentially face, Tsitsipas showed Sunday he'll be a threat after taking the first two sets, even if he couldn't seal the deal. Other players to watch include Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini, among others.

But Djokovic will fairly be viewed as the favorite. He's the best player in the world right now, and it's not up for debate. He'll be the smart money at the All England Club.

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