Rafael Nadal comes to Roland Garros with many doubts. The Spanish phenomenon has had to deal with more than one setback in recent months and he hasn't been able to play as much as he would have liked. After a fabulous start to the season, enhanced by his triumph at the Australian Open, the former world number 1 sustained a stress fracture in his rib during the Indian Wells Masters 1000.
The 35-year-old from Manacor was forced to miss the first rounds on red (Monte Carlo and Barcelona) and did not shine in either Madrid or Rome. During the match against Denis Shapovalov at the Foro Italico, the 21-time Grand Slam champion again suffered from the pain in his foot that had plagued him last season.
Rafa was drawn at the top of the draw in Paris, the same as Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. The Serbian and the Iberian could already meet at the quarter-final level (as in 2015). In a recent interview with 'NDTV', former Indian tennis player Somdev Devvarman analyzed Nadal's chances at Roland Garros.
Rafa Nadal is a 21 Grand Slam champion
"Comes out, plays the Aussie, wins it and all of us are kind of sitting there and saying that Rafael Nadal is ready for the French Open. Like he's always been, he always goes, he takes a couple of weeks to get ready for Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and before you know it, he's ready and he's won the title 13 times," the Indian said.
"So, he's definitely not someone you're counting out but I do think that it is fair to say that in the last 15 or 16 years, this is probably the most hurt, the most injured Rafa has been and I think the rest of the field also understands that because he has been fairly vocal about the fact that he's had to play through injury his whole career and knowing Rafa, that's just the kind of guy he is.
I think he's not going to go out there and be the one to make excuses but he's going to fight and see where he stands." The former World No. 62 feels Novak Djokovic is in prime position to defend his Roland Garros title.
"When it comes to Novak, he's definitely going into the French Open with as good form as he can expect. The fact that he's won a big title in Rome is going to give him confidence," added Devvarman.