As Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic continue their impressive runs at the French Open 2020, they become a bigger threat to Rafael Nadal’s bid for another title in Paris. Even before the tournament, many believed Rafael Nadal is more vulnerable this year due to the different conditions.
However, former world number one and Nadal’s coach, Carlos Moya, has a straightforward suggestion to quell those doubts. He feels Nadal’s 12 titles suggest that he has won at Roland Garros in all conditions.
“The trick we have is quite important: it is Rafa Nadal, we are at Roland Garros and it is played at Philippe Chatrier,” Moya said recently. “History is useful for something. He has won here in all possible conditions,” Moya said.
Despite all the talk about conditions, Moya expressed that Nadal has proved he can win in any circumstances at the French Open. He believes Nadal’s capacity to adapt is ‘second to none.’
“We have talked about it from day one: he has won with sun, rain, snow, height, at sea level,” Moya added.
“There are some conditions that favor him more and others less, but he has managed to win tournaments in a thousand situations throughout his career. Rafa has a capacity for adaptation that almost no one has,” the 1998 French Open winner said.
When it comes to being a favorite, Moya does not necessarily think Nadal is one every time he steps onto the Parisian clay.
“No, not always. I don’t know what will happen next year. If Thiem wins every clay-court tournament, Thiem will be the favorite,” Moya said further.
So far, Nadal has proved Moya’s words right. Despite the heavier and cooler conditions, he has looked his usual self at Roland Garros. He has been aggressive in his approach. However, he will need to do that consistently as the prospect of facing Thiem in the semi-finals looms large.
An important feature of Nadal’s game this year has been his aggressive mindset on the return of serve. He has consistently pushed his opponents behind with an aggressive approach shot after the return.
While the conditions are a lot different this year, Nadal played in heavier conditions at past editions as well. More importantly, he prevailed every time.