‘Rafael Nadal has a mentality and strength that I have never seen,’ says former Champ

Former world number two Manuel Orantes says Rafael Nadal has qualities he has never seen before and that he is in ‘invincible’ at Roland Garros. 

Orantes, a Grand Slam champion himself and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame says the only way anyone can beat Nadal at the French Open is if he is injured and you can play at 150%.

The Spaniard hasn’t played a lot of tennis this year, reaching only the quarter-finals of both the Australian Open and Monte-Carlo Masters, although he picked up his 12th Barcelona Open title just a few days ago.

Nadal will be challenging for his 14th Roland Garros title this year, and if he wins it, he will break the record for the most Grand Slam titles of any man in history, a record he currently shares with Roger Federer at 20 majors each.

Orantes believes that it would take something drastic to happen at Roland Garros this year for Nadal not to win, as he sees him as invincible there.

“Everyone knows that when you play with Nadal you can only win if you are 150% of your level and he drops to 70%,” Orantes told Radio Marca.

“He has a mentality and a strength that I had never seen, you never see him throw the towel.”

When asked if Nadal is the favourite for the French Open, the Spaniard said: “On land (clay) I always see him as a favorite, I see him (as) invincible.

“There is a player like Thiem that if Rafa is not at his best version because he is injured, he could possibly beat him but in tournaments like Roland Garros, five sets, it is almost impossible to endure so many hours and beat him.

“I remember that (Bjorn) Borg was the first who started to have a great mentality in our time, to be very strong physically, and won four Roland Garros titles in a row. We thought that no one could ever beat him and now Nadal has tripled him.”

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