Rafael Nadal has had a simply extraordinary career, enhanced by 19 Grand Slam titles, 35 Masters 1000 and various successes in the Olympic Games and in the Davis Cup. He will certainly be remembered as the greatest ever on clay, thanks to his twelve wins at Roland Garros and 92% of successes on red clay.
Former World number 4 Robin Soderling does not think Roger Federer is one of Rafael Nadal's biggest challengers for the French Open title. "Of course it's going to be a completely different tournament but Rafa on clay - it doesn't matter if it's in June or September - for me, if he's healthy, he's still going to be the favourite," Soderling told Sky Sports.
"There are a couple of players who I actually feel can win the French Open. I think Thiem and Djokovic can do really well on clay but it's just amazing to see Rafa as the favourite again. I can't believe it's been 11 years since I beat him at Roland Garros, but it just shows you how good he has been for so long.
He won his first French Open title in 2005 and he's still the favourite which is amazing. If this break is not going to be too long, it will help Rafa and Roger (Federer) recover. It may even help prolong their careers. It is more likely that Rafa will win a Grand Slam this year or next year than Roger.
He can still do it but I don't believe he has the hunger in him now, but we will see. When they're all retired it's going to be Nadal of Djokovic who will end up with the most Grand Slams" - he added.