'To hurt Rafael Nadal on clay, you must...', says ATP player

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'To hurt Rafael Nadal on clay, you must...', says ATP player

There is still some time left for Roland Garros, the second Grand Slam tournament to be held from next May 30th until June 13th. The clay season has just begun and there is great curiosity about who will win the next Roland Garros, if Rafael Nadal will win yet another trophy thus reaching the coveted twenty-first Grand Slam or if Novak Djokovic will be able to shorten compared to the other opponents.

Nadal and Djokovic are the main favorites for the victory in Paris but among the insiders there is curiosity about who could really stop their domination. The Spaniard will be vying to tie Novak Djokovic's all-time record of 36 Masters 1000 titles in the Spanish capital this week.

Prior to the start of the tournament, World No. 12 and local favorite Pablo Carreno Busta spoke about Rafael Nadal's prospects in this edition of the Madrid Masters.

Carreno Busta speaks about Rafael Nadal

"Although Rafael Nadal is not at his best level, because it has been very, very high and it is not easy to maintain or recover it, because he had not played since Australia, Rafa, especially on clay, is the best player there is right now and there has been in tennis history," Pablo Carreno Busta said.

Carreno Busta's own record against Nadal doesn't make for pretty reading. "It is very difficult to play against him," Carreno Busta added. "You must be very clear about the weapons and (play) a very round match to be able to hurt him and hope that he is not at his best level.

He's a favorite for all clay-court tournaments. He is always counted for the title." Five-time champion Rafael Nadal is the top seed in Madrid and will inarguably stay the favorite as long as he remains in the tournament.

But this time around, his side of the main draw will be a mammoth challenge for him to go past. After the second round, Rafa will probably meet Jannik Sinner, Alexander Zverev, and Dominic Thiem. Unquestionably, he will need to stay at the top of his game to win his sixth title in Madrid.

Above all, the two following weeks will bring high-quality tennis from the Spanish capital. It remains to be seen who endures the test and lifts the title on 9th May. He said, “I can tell you in one month I can’t tell you now no… I don’t see a big difference between one or the other thing, for me personally, like in terms of preparations, for the tournaments”.