How important was the Rome title for Rafael Nadal? In an interview to Tages Anzeiger his uncle Toni answered this question. "Very important. He was able to beat good players like Stefanos Tsitsipas or Novak Djokovic, that shows how well he played.
In Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid he still had some issues. In Rome he found his best level again. That matters, not just the win. Against Djokovic, the first and third set were brilliant. He could have won the second too. And of course the title is even bigger for him because now the French Open takes place.
Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem are the French Open favorites. Then you also have Tsitsipas, del Potro and Federer. But if I had to put some money, I would pick the first three I mentioned." On the next generation of players, Toni added: "They have not won Grand Slams yet.
But Alexander Zverev has already won several Masters 1000s. The newcomers are not there yet. But they will come. Zverev, Tsitsipas, Felix (Auger Aliassime), Shapovalov. And Dominic Thiem who already reached the last year's French Open final.
He needs to definitely be considered as one of the favorites. Stefanos Tsitsipas is becoming stronger on clay too. He reached the Madrid finals, Rome semifinals. Zverev, you need to see when he gets back to his best shape again.
Clear: Federer, Djokovic and Rafael are still a bit further than others per now. But they are also three absolutely amazing players."