As we could expect, the 12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal is not a happy camper after his first training sessions in Paris. Arriving at the French capital on Thursday, the king of clay had the opportunity to train at the Court Philippe-Chatrier for two days, gathering information ahead of his first-round clash against Egor Gerasimov on Monday.
Instead of sunny and warm June, Roland Garros will take place at the end of September and early October, with low temperatures and a gray weather forecast that includes many rainy days. Nadal is not happy about that, calling the situation an extreme one and waiting for the first matches to see how things will unfold at this unusual time for an outdoor tournament.
Also, the defending champion will have to think about the roof on the brand-new Court Philippe-Chatrier, never preferring those conditions, especially not with the new Wilson ball that will replace the one from Babolat that was in service for years.
Ready to give his best, Rafa will try to draw the most from his abilities and bounce back after the quarter-final exit in Rome, suffering only two losses in Paris in a career. World no. 2 had the opportunity to hit with the new balls at home in Mallorca and is yet to find the perfect balance with them, making that task even more harder in cold and windy conditions that will follow the players throughout Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal will have to work very hard to extend his Roland Garros streak.
"The temperature is nine degrees, creating an extreme situation to play an outdoor tournament. It will rain almost every day, with cold weather and wind.
The balls are very different from what we had in the previous years. I had already trained with this ball in Mallorca when it was hot, and it was already heavy and slow; here in Paris, it is like a stone in this weather. We have to adapt to that.
I have to accept all the challenges that may arise and overcome them in the best way. I cannot fail in the illusion of doing the best things possible. Of all Roland Garros that I have played, this one has the most extreme conditions.
Wilson is making Roland Garros balls for the first time, and there are many things to improve. The tournament will review it once the competition is done. It is a ball that can be a little dangerous for shoulders and elbow. I had two good training sessions on Thursday and Friday, and I'm feeling positive.
I have two days left to prepare because I'm going to play on Monday. We have to look forward and give our best," Rafael Nadal said.