Former world No.1 Jim Courier has labelled Novak Djokovic as the “overwhelming favourite” to take out next month’s Australian Open title.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner will be out to defend his Australian Open crown having won the past years, with a win in 2021 to be his ninth title in total should he go all the way once again.
While discussing the upcoming event, Courier said he can’t see any of the younger generation’s players challenging world No.1 Djokovic and No.2 Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park.
Despite last year’s US Open, where Austria’s Dominic Thiem become the first man born in the 1990s to claim a grand slam singles title by defeating Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the American tennis great declared even without Roger Federer’s participation, the Australian Open will still be won by one of the “old guys”.
“I think throughout 2021, yes [someone outside of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer will win a major],” he told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
“I don’t think the old guard is going to sweep all the majors as they have in recent years.
“But I do expect that one of the old guards will win the Australian Open on the men’s side. The women’s field is quite a bit more open.”
While admitting there’s potential for one of the younger stars of the sport to once again breakthrough at a later tournament this, Courier believes Djokovic’s preparation will ultimately give him the edge next month.
Djokovic, who made headlines speaking out against Victoria’s tough quarantine protocol for players, has been quarantining in what has been perceived as better conditions in Adelaide.
As most players bunker down in Melbourne hotels under strict quarantine, Djokovic, along with Nadal and few others, have been allowed five hours per day outside their hotel rooms and have been working out on the court.
“Novak is an overwhelming favourite given how many times he has lifted the trophy and how well he played last year,” Courier added.
“He is rested, he’s ready, he’s had access to full practice in Adelaide and he’s going to get a good match on Friday night. He’s got everything lined up.
“The old guys aren’t getting younger, so there will be some more chances for the younger guys.
“I can see some breakthroughs in other events later this year.”
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