Rome: Rafael Nadal will continue his Roland Garros preparations with a final major tune-up at the Rome Masters, an event where he has been champion in four of the last five years. The Spanish world number one proved that his game is heading back to its lethal best as won the Madrid title when Japan’s Kei Nishikori quit trailing 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 with back pain on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal with the trophy

He is also more optimistic about his chances over the rest of the season. “I am 28 in a few weeks’ time. How many years have I been on the tour? 12? That’s a lot. But I’m where I am. I’m competing for tournaments and I feel well physically,” said Nadal.

“I’m feeling better and better physically, better than a year ago. This is the most important thing. I still feel fortunate for doing what I’m doing.”

Nadal did himself a favour with his Madrid success, ensuring that he will hang onto the top ranking for another week heading into Paris.

The Spaniard will begin his 32nd week in a row at number one and 134th overall. He is making his 10th straight Rome appearance, winning a record seven titles from eight finals for a 41-2 career record at the venue.