Nadal, who turns 30 on June 3 during the French Open, has won a record nine titles in southwest Paris. If he achieves the “Decima” — or 10 trophies — just like his beloved Real Madrid did in football’s Champions League in 2014, that will be some way to celebrate a landmark birthday.
“I think Nadal showed that in the last few weeks he’s really confident and it reflects on the court,” 1997 French Open semifinalist Filip Dewulf told CNN. “I think his opponents are feeling it as well… If you know he is going to run and hit the ball hard on every point, and he’s not doubting himself, you know you’re going to have a tough time beating Rafa in Paris.”
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“It’s a special tournament for me and is always a highlight on the calendar but without obsession,” the world number five told Cadena Ser radio.
“The important thing is that I enjoy the tournament. I’m happy when I play, I feel competitive against everybody and that’s what makes me happy.”
Federer is ranked No. 3 in the world, and his withdrawal means that Rafael Nadal, who’s currently fifth, will be seeded fourth in Paris. This means that Nadal won’t face No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic until the semi-finals at the earliest.
“Rafael want to play in all three Olympic events,” Toni Nadal said Tuesday, according to the report. “The mixed doubles team may not be as strong as Swiss Martina Hingis and Roger Federer, but it can still be competitive.”
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He’d won the event eight times before but still most were doubting his status as a true title favourite after a disappointing 2015 and iffy opening to 2016. Yet Rafa Nadal announced his arrival back at the very top of the men’s game with a captivating run to a ninth crown at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
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