Former world No. 1 Justine Henin thinks Rafael Nadal will be extremely motivated to bounce back at this year's French Open after failing to win the title at the tournament last year. Nadal, a record 13-time Grand Slam champion, failed to win his fifth consecutive French Open title last year after losing to world No.
1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. For the first time since 2016, someone othan than Nadal won the French Open. In 2016, Nadal sustained a wrist injury and he was forced to pull out of the tournament following his second round victory.
"The question is, can he still win Roland-Garros at least once? If physically he is able to prepare properly, I think that the desire for revenge compared to the defeat in last year's semifinal will be huge," Henin told France Info, per Sportskeeda.
Henin on Nadal's return in Madrid
Nadal was out for the past month and a half due to a rib stress fracture. After skipping Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Nadal is set to return to kick off his clay season in Madrid. "In Madrid, it's his home, even if it's not the tournament where he's at his best.
In Madrid, the pitch is very compact and it depends on the playing conditions. Rafa often likes to have a little more space, that's why he is so comfortable at Roland-Garros," Henin said. Nadal couldn't wait any longer as he was already behind in his French Open preparation.
"Despite only just arriving with preparation and it being difficult, I really want to play and play at home since the opportunities are few," Nadal tweeted this week. "I will try to do it in the best possible way. See you in Madrid”.
Missing Monte Carlo and Barcelona certainly wasn't an easy pill to swallow for Nadal. Nadal likes to play a lot of matches as part of his preparation for the French Open.