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'Rafael Nadal is not as strong on clay this year,' says Grand Slam legend

Rafael Nadal forehand Barcelona

Rafael Nadal is 'not as strong' this year on clay going into Roland Garros than previous years, says Boris Becker.

Nadal has won one clay title so far this season - the Barcelona Open - although he also suffered surprise defeats in Monte-Carlo and Madrid to Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev respectively.

He is also in the Rome semi-finals this weekend after gaining some revenge against Zverev in the quarters, but Becker thinks there may be a chink in the armour compared to previous seasons.

“Rafael Nadal has a passport and it says age 35 from June,” Becker told Eurosport's Das Yellow vom Ball podcast.

“Let’s talk about Nadal 2020 for now: I’ve never seen him as strong as he was in last year’s French Open final against Novak Djokovic. But tennis is fleeting, only the next match counts.

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“This year I haven’t seen him as strong on clay as last year. If he doesn’t win Rome now either, he can’t come to Paris with an incredible amount of confidence.

“Yes, he has won the tournament 13 times, but I didn’t find him that dominant yet this year.

"Even in Barcelona he had to go over three sets – he didn’t win that as dominantly as he has in the past.”

While Nadal perhaps has not been his usual dominant self on the red dirt this season, it's certainly worth remembering he won Roland Garros last year without dropping a set.

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