Former world No. 1 Boris Becker insists Rafael Nadal can’t be ruled out of the Australian Open title contention.
Nadal, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, missed the last two Grand Slams over a foot issue.
Nadal made a winning return last week, claiming the Melbourne Summer Set title.
“As long as Rafael Nadal plays tennis and gets the chance, he is never a dark horse for me, but always one of the tournament favourites,” Becker told Eurosport Germany’s Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast.
“I think that in the back of his mind he just wants to win [the French Open] again. But he has to play tournaments first, preferably a Grand Slam.
“He has no pressure, nobody expects anything from him.
Becker thinks Nadal can win the Australian Open
Nadal’s preparation for the season took a hit after he tested positive for COVID-19 on December 20.
“The preparation was bad because of his Corona illness [but] I don’t know anyone in the main draw who would like to play Nadal in the first or second round,” Becker added.
“That is his nimbus — he is one of the ultimate superstars.
“And again, he can also get [his 21st career win at a Grand Slam tournament]. I think that’s another reason why he’s playing in Melbourne.
“These top stars who have won so much, they wouldn’t be playing if they didn’t think they had a chance.”
Also, Becker spoke about Alexander Zverev’s chances of winning the Australian Open.
Last year, Zverev won the Tokyo Olympics and ATP Finals.
“He is now in the form of his life and the big titles have to come,” Becker admitted.
“Questions will get louder.
“We are still at the beginning of the year and I am confident that Sascha can win the Australian Open. But it won’t be a walk in the park.”