'Rafael Nadal always raises his game on this court,' says ATP ace
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2947
The 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal trained on his beloved Court Philippe-Chatrier on Friday with Sebastian Korda. The Spaniard looked better on the court than on Thursday, which is a positive sign for him and his fans ahead of Roland Garros.
Nadal will face Jordan Thompson in the opening round, and he hopes to overcome a foot injury and fight for a place in the final against Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev. The German spoke about Nadal following their practice sessions.
Zverev believes that Nadal always raises his level at Roland Garros, saying he is hitting the ball 20 mp/h faster than at other tournaments. Rafa experienced the third loss in Paris last year, falling to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final after an incredible battle that lasted for over four hours.
The Spaniard struggled with a foot injury and skipped Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. Rafa made a return in Washington, but his body did not react well after two matches, and he was forced to wrap up the season and hope for a better run in 2022.
Undergoing a minor surgery, Nadal returned to the court in Melbourne this year and made a perfect start to the season after winning his 21st Major crown at the Australian Open. The Spaniard endured all the obstacles and lifted a record-breaking Major crown that placed him above Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Alexander Zverev praised Rafael Nadal ahead of Roland Garros.
Rafa remained undefeated until the Indian Wells final, winning 20 matches in a row before Taylor Fritz halted him in the title clash. Struggling with a rib injury, Nadal missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona, staying away from the court for six weeks and losing ground.
Nadal was far from his best in Madrid and Rome, and his foot is bothering him again ahead of the season's second Major. Still, Rafa came to Paris ready to give his best and fight for the 14th title at his beloved tournament.
He will have to play on a high level to achieve that, with Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz standing in his half of the draw. "You just have to watch Rafa practicing here at Roland Garros. My dad and Sergi Bruguera watched him on the court, and suddenly he hits a forehand 20 mp/h faster than at other tournaments.
He moves faster, and something about Rafa and Court Philippe-Chatrier makes him 30% better," Alexander Zverev said.