Paul Annacone warns Rafael Nadal doubters: He has 13 French Opens for a reason

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Paul Annacone warns Rafael Nadal doubters: He has 13 French Opens for a reason

Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal hasn't had an easy clay season so far but tennis analyst Paul Annacone underlined that beating Nadal at the French Open remains the most difficult thing in the game. Nadal, who sustained a rib stress fracture in Indian Wells, missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona before he returned to action in Madrid.

Nadal recovered from a rib injury but he was hampered by his foot in Madrid (quarterfinal) and Rome (round-of-16). Nadal enters the French Open without a title won leading up to the event but he will sitll be among top favorites to win the tournament and clinch a record 14th French Open title.

"The hardest thing in sports is beating Rafa Nadal in 3 out of 5 sets on clay," Annacone said on a podcast hosted by Tennis Channel, per Sportskeeda. "I still think that's the most difficult thing to do."

Annacone: Nadal has 13 French Opens for a reason

This might be the worst preparation Nadal has had for the French Open but Annacone is not ready to rule him out from the title contention. "Rafa is such a creature of habit and he loves to have a lot of match wins under his belt," Annacone expressed.

"He started the year off meteorically and of course with the setback of the cracked rib, he hasn't been able to play the schedule that he wants. Rafa is so great, he can play his way into form at Roland Garros. He can win a lot of matches at way below sub-par for him and then he'll get better as the tournament goes on.

I'm really not worried. I know it's not what he prefers but, look, the guy hasn't won 13 Roland Garros for no reason." Last year, Nadal failed to win the French Open after losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal.

Nadal captured a record 21st Grand Slam title at this year's Australian Open and his chances of finishing with the all-time Grand Slam would massivelly increase if he somehow won the French Open.