'He is probably the one that Rafael Nadal can suffer the most...', says former star



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'He is probably the one that Rafael Nadal can suffer the most...', says former star

Roland Garros 2021 will start on Sunday, postponed by a week due to the delicate health situation in France. The second seasonal Grand Slam, which last year was held in October, takes on further significance in this edition.

A possible 14th triumph in Paris would in fact allow Rafael Nadal to hoist himself to 21 Majors and overtake his eternal rival Roger Federer for the first time. The Spanish phenomenon will have to watch his back especially from world number 1 Novak Djokovic, whom he recently met in the final of the BNL Internationals of Italy.

The 34-year-old from Belgrade is determined to take revenge after his lesson last year, as well as having already beaten Nadal at the French Open six years ago. Do not underestimate Dominic Thiem, a two-time finalist in the French capital, even if the Austrian had to manage a complicated moment in these first months of 2021.

Speaking on Eurosport, former ATP number 2 Alex Corretja said that the winner of the US Open 2020 could be the toughest opponent for Rafa.

Corretja on the 2021 French Open

"If Dominic Thiem is well, then he is probably the one that Rafael Nadal can suffer the most against on clay because of the styles of games," Alex Corretja said.

"He has got a good forehand, a good backhand, a good serve – he doesn’t need to go so far back to hit his backhand." Corretja then pointed to a few other players he thinks could threaten Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

"There are guys out there who can [challenge Nadal]," Corretja added. "There is Novak [Djokovic] of course, there is [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, there is [Alexander] Zverev, there is [Diego] Schwartzman – all whom can play well.

Of course we see others like [Matteo] Berrettini, Casper Ruud, these guys can stay with Rafa but I’m just not sure they can over five sets," continued Corretja. Players have started entering Paris and things are set for the second Grand Slam of the year, French Open 2021.

As always, Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal is expected to continue registering similar results as history portrays. However, as the years have gone by, there have been new names emerging on the tennis circuit. From the new generations of players, emerging stars like Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are exciting prospects for the French Open 2021.

Two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem surely has a chance to go a step further and lift the title. Younger players like Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner can cause a few upsets.