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Rafael Nadal camp have Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer French Open belief | Tennis | Sport

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Rafael Nadal’s coach Francis Roig has given his view on the upcoming French Open in which the Spaniard is the heavy favourite to defend his Roland Garros crown. Beating Nadal on clay is regularly dubbed the most difficult task in the world of tennis.

Only a select few have managed to topple the 20-time Grand Slam winner at Roland Garros.

And this summer Nadal will have extra motivation as he can pull away from Roger Federer’s major tournament tally into a league of his own.

Roig will be in the 34-year-old’s corner and it is his job to try and mastermind a route to glory.

However, he fears that world No 1 Djokovic will be the sternest challenger – even though Nadal beat the Serbian in the Italian Open final last week.

“Djokovic is still the rival, perhaps, who can cause more problems, along with Tsitsipas, Zverev and Thiem,” Roig told the ATP.

The coach goes on to name Dominic Thiem as the other key danger to Nadal’s crown in the French capital.

But he does not mention Federer as a threat – who lost to Nadal in the 2019 semi-finals.

“Of course, if Thiem regains the rhythm and confidence that he usually shows on clay, I would say that I do not see differences between him and Djokovic,” he added.

“Since he won the US Open he has dropped a bit, but I am sure that for Roland Garros he will be at the necessary level and will be a very tough opponent.

“He is a very complete player, who demands a lot in each hit, if you leave the ball a little short, the point is over. On a physical level it is very demanding.”

Federer will, fortunately, enter the clay Grand Slam as the eighth seed after the ATP revised their ranking system because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Swiss star has struggled for form and was beaten by world No 75 Pablo Andujar during his comeback at the Geneva Open this week.

Nadal’s camp clearly do not see the 39-year-old as a contender in Paris.

“Despite the passing of the years and the demands of each tour, as I mentioned, the rival who continues to give the most respect is Djokovic and the one who continues to dictate the laws is Nadal,” Roig explained.

“In the [ATP] Masters 1000 it has been distributed more, it is obvious that they are getting closer and closer, but in the Grand Slam, in five-set matches, I continue to see them as favourites.”


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