After the defeats suffered in the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo and Madrid, Rafael Nadal managed to win the Masters 1000 in Rome for the tenth time in his career and prove that he is still the absolute favorite for the next edition of Roland Garros.
In Paris, the Spaniard will try to win his 21st Major and become the most successful player in history at the Slam level; right now he's still 20 like Roger Federer. Francisco Roig, Nadal's longtime coach, spoke about the growth in attendance for him tournament after tournament and the goal of Roland Garros on the official ATP website.
“Did the match won in Rome against Zverev represent the turning point? This is partially true. But I think the spark is lit mentally. Having won two very tough matches against Sinner and Shapovalov, and also saving match points in the second, he gives you the opportunity to play more relaxed.
This was noticed in the final. When Rafa gets this calm, it means that everything is going well. Finding that kind of confidence is just as crucial for him as it is for all other players. Already in Madrid he had good feelings in training, but the high ground prevented him from controlling the game.
In Rome he continued to train well and won games because he was good at building, daring and making the right decisions. As for Roland Garros, I think it will be important to acquire a little more mobility. We have room for improvement: it can be more dynamic and it can serve you better.
Djokovic is probably the opponent that can cause him the most problems along with Tsitsipas, Zverev and Thiem. If Thiem were to go back to the first on earth, I don't see any difference between him and Novak. He's down a bit since he won the US Open, but I'm sure he will be a tough opponent at Roland Garros.
He is a complete player, demanding a lot from every shot. If he plays too short a ball against him, the point is lost. And also from a physical point of view he is a very demanding opponent”.
Ruud on spending time training with Rafael Nadal
Casper Ruud has revealed he will travel to Mallorca after the conclusion of the Geneva Open to spend time training with Rafael Nadal ahead of the 2021 French Open.
"Next week I will go to Mallorca," said the Norwegian. “I will rest 1-2 days and then I will resume training to prepare for Roland Garros. Rafa is there and I think he will want to play so after some rest I am ready for some hard training with him."
The Norwegian, however, hopes to be invited to go sailing on Nadal's new yacht. “There are no salmon in Mallorca, so I don't go fishing," Ruud added. “Rafa hasn't invited me to his new boat yet, but we'll see, it would be nice to go there. He should come to Norway to fish for salmon, it's a great activity!"