'The humidity bothers Rafael Nadal because of...', says top coach

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'The humidity bothers Rafael Nadal because of...', says top coach

In search of the 14th Roland Garros crown last June, Rafael Nadal experienced only the third loss in his beloved Major. Without playing at his highest level that spring on clay, Rafa won the Barcelona and Rome titles after two very difficult matches and was waiting for one last push at Roland Garros.

Nadal advanced to the 14th semi-final in Paris, never losing a match on Court Philippe-Chatrier after passing the quarter-final stage. Rafa faced the toughest opponent possible in the semi-finals, and was unable to prevail and continue on his way to the title.

Novak Djokovic floored Nadal 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2 in four hours and 11 minutes, holding perfect at that year's Majors and advancing in the title clash. It was Nadal's third loss in Paris since 2005 and his first since the 2015 quarterfinals, when he fell to Djokovic in straight sets.

Despite foot problems and obvious fatigue, Rafa gave his best to stay competitive and challenge his most formidable rival on the Philippe-Chatrier track. The Spaniard held a set point at 6-5 in the third set, wasting it and pulverizing some errors to fall behind and seal his fate as Novak emerged as the strongest and most determined player on court.

Rafa got off to a perfect start and took a 5-0 lead in the first set. Unlike in 2020, Novak was there to fight, losing the first set but coming back to win the second and level the aggregate score after almost two hours.

Roig speaks about Nadal

Rafael Nadal took the lead in the all-time Grand Slam for the first time in January after winning his 21st Major title at the 2022 Australian Open.

"Two months ago I would tell you that Rafa had it very difficult. Right now I will tell you that he is 50-50 with Novak," Roig was quoted as saying by Punto de Break. "Roger has it very difficult given that he has been out for a long time and is older.

We know that Novak may be a few years old more than us playing. We'll see what happens, it would be very good if Rafa could get this next Roland Garros." He added that Nadal likes the conditions at Indian Wells. "You can never say who is the clear favorite, although (he is) among the three great candidates I would tell you," he said.

"In Indian Wells you have to start from scratch. In the Masters 1000 you have a very tough starting table, you depend a lot on the draw. Rafa has always quite liked Indian Wells, he bounces the ball a lot, a dry environment, since the humidity bothers him because of what he sweats. There are options but we must be cautious and do things well."

Rafael Nadal