PARIS, May 26, 2017
Rafael Nadal has returned to Paris eyeing his 10th title at Roland Garros. Last year the 30-year-old Spaniard was forced to withdraw from his third round match with wrist problems.
“When I have been here last year, I arrived with very positive feelings. Then the injury happened. So I hope that the story doesn’t repeat,” Nadal told with a smile on Friday.
“But it’s true that since the beginning of the season I am happy the way that I played. I think I play well in almost every event that I was there.”
Nadal aims to continue his dominant season on clay. He enters Roland Garros with a 17-1 win-loss record on the dirt so far this year having won three of the four four clay court tournaments that he has entered, before falling to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals in Rome. It is the first time he has lost only one match on clay coming into Roland Garros since 2012, lifting the trophies in Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Madrid.
“I am happy about the events that I won. That was very important for me,” the World No. 3 said. A lot of people are picking Nadal as the favourite here in the capital of France.
“If I am playing well, doesn’t matter if you believe or you don’t believe that I am one of the candidates or not. The most important thing is staying healthy. That’s the only way in order to have success here, and I am focused on trying to do that.”
— TennisTourTalk (@TennisTourTalk) 25. Mai 2017
First Round Against Paire
Nadal will open his “La decima” campaign at Roland Garros against local favourite Benoit Paire. The pair will meet for the third time with the Spaniard leading 2-0 in head-to-head records.
“He is not an opponent you want to play against in the first round, no? He is a player with big talent. Great serve, great hands. Fantastic backhand. He is a dangerous opponent. I need to play my best. Let’s see.”
Nadal will be supported by his coach and former French Open champion Carlos Moya.
“He has been an important person in my career since I was a kid. I am happy that he joined the team with Francis and Toni. I am very glad about the way we are working. I think I have a great team. All together they are creating the right atmosphere to help me the best possible way.”
Nadal could face defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.