Rafael Nadal claimed the first Roland Garros title on debut in 2005, just after turning 19, starting the most dominant performance at a single Major! In the last 16 years, Nadal has won 13 Roland Garros titles and suffered two losses from 102 encounters, winning one trophy after another to write the record books.
Nadal will be the favorite in Paris in the next two weeks, seeking the 14th Parisian trophy and the 21st Major that would put him at the top of the GOAT race ahead of Roger Federer. Former Roland Garros winner Alex Corretja mentioned a couple of names who could challenge Nadal on the Parisian clay in June, revealing Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman as his main rivals.
For Corretja, Nadal should have the most problems against Dominic Thiem if the Austrian brings his A-game, which hasn't happened so far in 2021, including a couple of poor results on clay in the previous weeks. Nadal ousted Thiem in two Roland Garros finals in 2018 and 2019, and the Austrian lost to Schwartzman in an epic quarter-final clash last October.
Despite challenging weather and conditions, Nadal didn't allow anyone to jeopardize him in his kingdom, winning the title without losing a set and toppling Novak Djokovic in the final to celebrate the milestone 20th Major crown.
Alex Corretja shared his thoughts about Rafael Nadal and the upcoming Roland Garros.
"There are rivals who can challenge Rafael Nadal in Paris. Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman top that list, as they can all play good tennis.
I'm not sure that Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud and others can endure the best-of-five encounters against Rafa. If Thiem brings his best tennis, he is probably the one who can challenge Rafa the most on clay because of the styles of games.
He has a good forehand, a good backhand, a good serve, and he doesn't need to go so far back to hit his backhand. I think that the night session can draw some upsets. It can create problems for players if matches go long into the night because they will finish late, and the conditions will be totally different, as the clay should become very wet," Alex Corretja said.