Rafael Nadal says he feels good ahead of Roland Garros, but he knows there are other serious candidates that can stop him claiming his 14th title.
Nadal has dominated the French Open for the last decade and a half, winning an incredible 13 times out of 16 times he has entered the tournament – a feat that no other player has been able to come close to at a single major.
The Spaniard also currently holds the joint record for the most Grand Slam singles titles with 20 each for him and Roger Federer, however Nadal is arguably in the best position to claim that record for himself in Roland Garros this year.
Nadal has had a successful clay warm-up, winning both Barcelona last month and the Rome Masters last week but he knows that there are plenty of players lining up to take his Roland Garros crown this year.
“I think there is plenty of players that are doing great,” Nadal told Insider ahead of the tournament, before singling out rising Norwegian star Casper Ruud, who he said “has had a great clay court season.”
“Dominic Thiem, he’s always a big candidate,” Nadal said. “[Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Alexander] Zverev, [Andrey] Rublev, maybe [Denis] Shapovalov.
“I really believe that there are plenty of players that are doing well. There is a lot of great players that are in good shape.
“And of course, there are the players that we know, like Novak and Roger. So let’s see what can happen.”
But despite the tough competition, Nadal says he is feeling good and knows what he has to do to give himself the best chance of winning once again at Roland Garros.
“I feel good, I [have] played consistently, winning two events, two quarterfinals and I am playing better at the end of the clay season than when I started.
“Winning in Rome has been a positive thing for me.
“It’s always the same, you need to be there, you need to arrive to Roland-Garros to get used to the conditions, to have the right practice before the tournament starts and then try to be very competitive from the beginning,” he said.
“And just keep going day by day, try to play better and better. And then try to give myself a chance [to win].”
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