The last year's Roland Garros started at the end of September, four months later than its usual place in the calendar. The 12-time winner Rafael Nadal was not a happy camper before the season's last Major kicked off, embracing two training sessions on Court Philippe-Chatrier a couple of days ahead of his first-round encounter against Egor Gerasimov.
Nadal was not pleased with cold and rainy Paris conditions, calling the situation extreme and waiting for the first matches to see how things would unfold at this unusual time for an outdoor tournament, especially on clay.
The defending champion also had to consider the roof above the brand-new Court Philippe-Chatrier, never preferring those conditions, especially not in combination with the new Wilson ball that replaced the Babolat one. Ready to give his best, Rafa wished to draw the most from his abilities and bounce back after the quarter-final exit in Rome, suffering only two losses in Paris in a career.
World no. 2 had the opportunity to hit with the new balls at home in Mallorca before arriving in Paris. Still, he had yet to find a perfect balance with them, making that task even harder in cold and windy conditions to follow the players throughout Roland Garros.
As we all know, Nadal rose above all the challenges and claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown without losing a set in seven encounters.
Rafael Nadal did not like the last year's conditions in Paris.
"The temperature is nine degrees, creating an extreme situation to play an outdoor tournament.
It will rain almost every day, with cold weather and wind. The balls are very different from what we had in the previous years. I had already trained with this ball in Mallorca when it was hot, and it was already heavy and slow.
It is like a stone in this weather here in Paris, but we have to adapt to that. I have to accept all the challenges that may arise and overcome them in the best way. I can not fail in the illusion of doing the best things possible.
Of all Roland Garros that I have played, this one has the most extreme conditions. Wilson is making Roland Garros balls for the first time, and there are many things to improve. The tournament will review it once the competition is done.
It is a ball that can be a little dangerous for the shoulders and elbow. I had two good training sessions on Thursday and Friday, and I'm feeling positive. I have two days left to prepare because I'm going to play on Monday. We have to look forward and give our best," Rafael Nadal said.