Tough for Federer and Nadal to win another Grand Slam
FOX Sports pundit Bartoli says it will be tough for Federer and Nadal to win another Grand Slam title
They are former world No. 1s and have won a combined 31 Grand Slam titles.
Fans of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be hoping the duo can add to their Major tallies when the Australian Open - the first Grand Slam of the year - starts today.
Federer, 35, who has 17 Major titles, is playing in his first Grand Slam since returning from a six-month injury lay-off while Nadal, 30, with 14 Grand Slams to his name, has battled injuries in the last few years.
FOX Sports pundit Marion Bartoli is a big fan of the two men and hopes they can win another Grand Slam title before they call time on their careers, but she thinks it is a tough ask.
"It's fair to say Federer and Nadal's best years are behind them," said Bartoli in an interview with The New Paper last week.
"As a fan of theirs, I hope both of them will win one more Grand Slam before they end their careers, just like Serena. But, realistically speaking, it's going to be very difficult for them."
The former Wimbledon champion believes world No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic are still the ones to beat in Melbourne.
Djokovic won his sixth Australian Open last year, but suffered a sensational slump towards the end of the year and eventually lost the top ranking to Murray. But the Serb seems to have rediscovered his mojo when he defeated Murray in three sets in the Qatar Open final earlier this month.
"Djokovic is one of the men to watch in the Australian Open, no question about that," said Frenchwoman Bartoli.
Yeah, why not (underdog) for a change? I mean, I prefer to be the favourite. Underdog is okay.Roger Federer, seeded 17th, is fine with the unaccustomed role of an underdog
"He has the X-factor and delivers five to 10 per cent extra to his game compared to a lot of other players.
"With a changed mindset, I think he will be a totally different person going into the Australian Open.
"He will go into his battle with Murray with a lot of confidence.
"As for Murray, he has been training so hard that he is now as strong as Djokovic.
"He now believes he has what it takes to beat Djokovic.
"He used to doubt himself, but now, he has more belief."
Bartoli also shared her thoughts on Kei Nishikori, who has yet to win a Grand Slam title.
The closest the 27-year-old Japanese came to winning a Major title was in 2014, when he lost to Croatia's Marin Cilic in the US Open final.
And Bartoli thinks the US Open is still the world No. 5's best chance of winning a Grand Slam title.
Bartoli said: "After having come so close at the US Open, I think he can win it one day. That's his best chance.
"Physically, Nishikori needs to improve on his stamina. Compared to Novak and Andy, he's less powerful and needs to be more agile when he's playing against the big guys.
"He's also prone to injuries and, if he can avoid getting injured so often, he will have a shot (at winning a Grand Slam title) for sure."
The 2017 Australian Open will be broadcast live on the FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 channels (Singtel TV Ch 114 & Ch115/StarHub TV Ch 208 and Ch 209), the FOX Sports Play app (on-the-go), and on foxsportsasia.com.