EXCLUSIVE: Novak Djokovic will beat Roger Federer’s record if he stays healthy – Soderling

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Next week, Djokovic will begin his bid for a 16th Grand Slam, his fourth in a row, which would put him within four of Federer’s record of 20.

Victory for the world No 1 in Paris would also mean he becomes the first man to win four Grand Slams in a row on two different occasions.

Federer and Rafael Nadal are yet to achieve that feat in their illustrious careers and should Djokovic make history next month, his claim to the ‘GOAT’ would be strengthened significantly.

A 12th French Open title for Nadal would put him on 18 Major titles and within touching distance of Federer’s tally.

While Federer has given himself a shot at moving to 21 by playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.

Nonetheless, Nadal’s injury problems and Federer’s age mean Djokovic is in an ideal position to ultimately become the all-time leader.

And Soderling told Express Sport, Djokovic must avoid serious injury if he wants to beat Federer.

“I think there is a chance but Djokovic needs to stay injury free. You know he had a tough time two years ago,” Soderling said.

“Roger didn’t really have any serious injuries. You know he’s been able to play pretty much injury free for basically his whole career except from when he had knee surgery two or three years ago.

“Novak definitely can do it but he needs to stay injury free and he needs to be on top of his game for many more years which is not going to be easy.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see. Roger still proves that he can win the biggest tournaments and he’s still winning grand slam when as he turns 38 soon which is really impressive. So his career is not finished yet.

“He could be in the top three or four for a few more years which is just unbelievable. It’s still interesting times. You know I really hope that all those three guys can play for many more years.

“They’ve done so much for the sport. They’re so important for tennis overall especially I would say Roger and Rafa because of their rivalry.

“We had two similar rivalries in tennis. It started with Borg and McEnroe, we had Sampras and Agassi and now we have the Roger and Rafa rivalry, two extremely good players, playing different types of tennis.

“Number one and two in the world and I think that is extremely good for the sport.”

Federer is back in Paris again after missing the last three French Open tournaments and he appears to have made a quick adjustment to life back on clay after reaching the quarter-finals in Madrid and Rome.

And Soderling expressed his happiness at his former rival being back on clay.

He said: “I understand why he didn’t play on clay before, he wanted to save his body but I think he feels pretty healthy.

“And I really think he feels he can win big tournaments [like] the French Open and I’m happy to see that he is playing on clay again.”

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