Novak Djokovic will be chasing a record 21st Grand Slam at the French Open in Paris later this month

Novak Djokovic boosted his preparations for next week’s French Open by winning his first title of the year at the Italian Open in Rome. The World No.1 will be one of the favourites as he chases a record-equaling 21st Grand Slam at the French Open, which starts next Sunday in Paris. The Serbian has had a dismal 2022 so far and the win at the Italian Open definitely acts as a great confidence booster for him going into the second Grand Slam of the year.

Novak Djokovic Italian Open 2022
Can Novak Djokovic defend his French Open title? Nadal and 5 other players who managed to do it in the past 4

Djokovic is happy to be back in winning ways. The Serbian is confident of putting up a strong title challenge in the Roland Garros. “I could not ask for a better lead-up to Roland Garros. I’m going to Paris with confidence and good feelings about my chances there”, said Djokovic after his win in Rome.

Which players in the past have managed to defend their French Open title?

Novak Djokovic faces a tough ask to defend his French Open title later this month. The king of clay, ‘Rafael Nadal’ has done it many times in the past – let us take a look at the other players who have achieved the same feat.

Nadal became the seventh player to successfully defend his Roland Garros title in 2006 when he beat top seed Roger Federer in the final. Since then, he has defended his title a staggering nine times, which is no less impressive than his scarcely believable 105-3 record at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Here are five other players who have successfully defended their French Open title –

1. Bjorn Borg – The legendary tennis player from Sweden won the title consecutive times in 1974 and 1975. Borg repeated his feat four more times in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981.

Swede Bjorn Borg is a former World no.1 and 11-time Grand Slam winner.
Swede Bjorn Borg is a former World no.1 and 11-time Grand Slam winner. (Getty Images)

2. Ivan Lendl – One of the greatest icons of the sport, Lendl won the title back to back in 1986 and 1987. .

3. Jim Courier – The American star defended his title successfully in 1992, having won it for the first time in ’91.

4. Sergi Bruguera – Spain’s Bruguera won the French Open title in 1993 and 1994.

5. Gustavo Kuerten – Brazil’s superstar, Kuerten won the Roland Garros back to back in 2000 and 2001.

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