Novak Djokovic earns favorite status for 2024 Australian Open glory amid Rafael Nadal’s comeback

Novak Djokovic has won three out of four Grand Slam seasons, marking the fourth season in the Serbian star’s career in which he has won three Major titles. He previously achieved this feat during remarkable seasons in 2011, 2015, and 2021. At 36, the Serbian holds the world No. 1 ranking, ahead of tennis players Carlos Alcaraz, who is 21, and Daniil Medvedev, who is 27.

As the 2024 season approaches, former tennis star Mark Philippoussis has revealed that, although Nadal is set to return to the court, Djokovic remains the favorite to win next year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Mark Philippoussis picks Djokovic as favorite

Novak Djokovic is set to return to action at the Paris Masters ATP 1000 tournament next week, having last featured at the US Open and the Davis Cup group stage last month. Mark Philippoussis during an interview revealed that Djokovic remains the clear favourite for next year’s edition of the Australian Open in Melbourne, an event the Serbian has won an incredible 10 times.

The 46-year-old further went on to back the Serbian tennis legend to win the first Grand Slam in 2024 as well. “He’s without a doubt the favorite going into the Australian Open,” said Philippoussis. “And I don’t see him slowing down soon.”

The Belgrade-born star recently clinched his 24th major title by lifting the US Open trophy, defeating world no. 3 Daniil Medvedev in the final. Mark Philippoussis commented, ‘As incredibly professional as you’ve seen Rafa (Nadal) and (Roger) Federer be, where they compete and ensure they are mentally and physically the fittest when entering Grand Slams, Djokovic has taken that to a whole new level, and it’s truly amazing.

“He was incredible to watch at the US Open. If he’s got a practice court at one o’clock, he’s in the gym by 11 o’clock. He’s walking onto the practice court already sweating. He finishes his training, he’s into his drinks and his eating and everything is exactly in place where it needs to be. I haven’t seen a professional like that. There’s been a lot of amazing professionals but I’ve never seen the degree that Djokovic does it.”

Nadal cast doubts on 2024 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has revealed that despite not featuring in more than four games this season, there are possibilities he will be playing in the 2024 Australian Open. He made this known in an extensive interview with Movistar+.

“Now it’s a controllable pain, nothing I can’t handle,” said the Spaniard. “I’m not sure what I’ll do in 2024, because the way I approach the year completely changes depending on what my goals are. If I don’t recover, that’s one thing, if I can compete on a level that excites me, that’s another thing altogether… Of course, in that case, I would play. But not with the schedule I’d like to have.

“My hope is that in two months, mid-November, I’ll be able to say where I am. How I am physically, and above all how the injury is. We haven’t set a timeframe. First, I have a recovery process, I’m training 40 minutes, three days a week. This is my day-to-day schedule and I work a lot of hours in the gym and on recovery. Will it be my last year? Have I planned it that way? Well, what if that’s not the case? What if, suddenly, after a long break, my body recovers and I feel strong enough and have enough energy to continue? Why would I lie and then say something else?” Nadal added?

Novak Djokovic will be aiming for his 11th Australian Open title come January, as he has already announced that he will lead Serbia in the United Cup while Rafael Nadal hopes to put on an astonishing display in the 2024 season.

Victor Okechukwu

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