Rafael Nadal has repeatedly reiterated that he is not obsessed with the desire to match and surpass Roger Federer's Grand Slam record. The Spanish phenomenon has reached 19 Majors so far and in less than a week he will have a greedy chance in his favorite tournament.
If he were to win the 13th Roland Garros of his amazing career, the former world number 1 would sign the historic connection to his eternal rival. The Majorcan, who did not travel to the United States to defend his title at the US Open, disappointed expectations at the Italian Internationals by giving in two sets to Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
Having excelled in the first two rounds, the Iberian ran into a bad day against an opponent who played the best game of his career. Before flying to Paris, Nadal revealed that he doesn't feel the pressure of being the big favorite.
Nadal will have to pay particular attention to Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, with the latter returning from his first Grand Slam triumph at the US Open (as well as a two-time finalist in the French capital).
Nadal on Roger Federer's record
“When you ask me about Roger Federer’s record, I always say the same,” Rafael Nadal told the press as he heads to Roland Garros.
“I made my entire career in my way and will keep doing that. I’m not obsessed with those 20 Major titles; I can’t always think about Roger or Novak Djokovic and our race for most Majors. I know journalists put a lot of attention on that.
I would love to finish my career on 25 Majors, but that’s unlikely to happen. I’m going to fight and create chances; we will see when I finish my career. I want to keep enjoying tennis, that’s all. If I’m playing on a high level, I’m a Major contender.
If not, it’s impossible to win it”. Nadal usually goes into the French Open full of confidence having won at least one or two titles on clay but, with the calendar completely rejigged this season, the 34-year-old will not be panicking.
"It's a completely special year and unpredictable year. I'll probably go back home and then let's see what's going on," he said. "I did my job here [in Rome]. I did a couple of things well and other things bad.
That's it. At least I played three matches. I fought until the end. But losing that many serves, you can't expect to win a match, no? Something that I have to fix.I know how to do it. I'm going to keep working and keep practising with the right attitude and try to give me a chance to be ready."