Rafael Nadal can’t wait to set a new French Open career record this year. He has been known as the “King of Clay” and has won the championship title at French Open nine times, more than anyone has done before. Now, the Spaniard is off to set the all-time high career record with a tenth win this year.
“Rafael Nadal will go down in tennis history as one of the greatest clay court players the game has ever seen,” reports Fox Sports. “The Spaniard has won a record nine French Open titles and often dominates the entire clay court season.”
The good thing is that the luck is on his side. The draw for the tournament came out this week, showing that Roger Federer’s last-minute pull out may benefit him greatly.
“In his quest to complete a career Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic could have to beat the nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals,” reports New York Times.
“Because of Roger Federer’s withdrawal for an unspecified injury, Nadal was seeded No. 4, avoiding a possible quarterfinal rematch with Djokovic,” reports the same article. “Chasing his first major title since winning in Paris two years ago, Nadal takes on the big server Sam Groth in the first round.”
Rafael Nadal’s latest Twitter post shows that he is in the zone to win big at this year’s French Open.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) May 20, 2016
“I need to be ready to suffer a little bit during the match because I know it’s going to be difficult to have breaks,” Nadal said to New York Times.
While the 29-year-old tennis player lost to the world number one at Italian Open, it looks like he is not willing to repeat the mistakes this time around. Seeing how Rafa is the favorite at the tournament, he will at least have the crowd on his side, cheering for him to make his career record.
Check out the Spaniard showing his fans that he will not let them down this year.
Primer entrenamiento en Roland Garros… 🙂
First practice session at Roland Garros… 🙂 pic.twitter.com/HQnWQh8Akn
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) May 19, 2016
He had a hard time this season, losing early in the rounds of the tournaments that he used to dominate in. But he is on the upswing, winning Barcelona Open and Monte Carlo back to back.
“Rafael Nadal of Spain beat the two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori of Japan, 6-4, 7-5, to win the Barcelona Open for the ninth time Sunday, equaling Guillermo Vilas’s record of 49 career clay-court championships,” reports New York Times. “Nadal, a winner of 14 Grand Slam singles events, added this title to one from Monte Carlo last week as he continued to regain form on his favorite surface ahead of the French Open.”
While many critics were skeptical about Rafael Nadal making a comeback, it looks like he has been able to prove himself that he still has his eyes on the prize.
“We lament that his consistency has slipped,” a writer stated on Sports Illustrated. “But even that implies that he’s still capable of greatness. Even with a first round loss in Australia, he’s playing Top Five tennis in 2016. He appears to be healthy. And the next Grand Slam is one he’s claimed NINE times.”
That doesn’t mean that he is flooded with good spirits right now, though. He is in the process of suing the French Minister of Sports, who accused the Spaniard of doping.
“I’m going to sue her, and I’m going to sue everyone who [is] going to comment [on] something similar in the future, because I am tired of that,” he said according to the Guardian. “A minister of France should be serious. This time is the time to go against her.”
Do you think French Open 2016 will be the tournament that Rafael makes a mark on tennis history? Let me know in the comments below!
[Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images]