Rafael Nadal eyes Roger Federer's record of 20 Slams at Roland Garros

Updated: 26 September, 2020 12:41 IST | AFP | Paris

Nadal owns an astounding 93-2 record in Paris dating back to his debut in 2005, when, still a teenager, he became the first player to win the French Open on his first attempt since Mats Wilander in 1982.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

The undisputed king of clay, Rafael Nadal is one title away from matching Roger Federer's Grand Slam record, but 15 years on from the Spaniard's first French Open triumph he appears more vulnerable than ever at his beloved Roland Garros. Nadal owns an astounding 93-2 record in Paris dating back to his debut in 2005, when, still a teenager, he became the first player to win the French Open on his first attempt since Mats Wilander in 1982.

History beckons

Fast-forward to the present day, and his 19 Grand Slam crowns—a record 12 of which have come at Roland Garros—coupled with Federer's absence after knee surgery leave him on the brink of history at a venue where he has won each of the past three years. Boris Becker, a former coach of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, suggested the rescheduled tournament— pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic—will be tougher than usual for Nadal. "This year is going to be particularly hard for Rafael Nadal. He's my number one favourite but the difference between him and the other players is less big this year than usual," said Becker, a six-time Grand Slam champion.

Rafa lacks rhythm: Becker

"He's not in his regular rhythm. He needs match practice. Normally, he was coming to Roland Garros having often played four big clay tournaments, which he had generally won." Nadal will head into the French Open without a clay title under his belt for the first time, having lost in straight sets to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals at Rome—his first tournament in six months.

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First Published: 26 September, 2020 12:16 IST

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