World No. 2 Rafael Nadal is aiming to win a record 13th title at the French Open 2020. Nadal is just one Grand Slam short of equalling his arch-rival Roger Federer‘s Grand Slam tally of 20. Despite losing in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open, Nadal will enter Roland Garros as the heavy favorite.
During an interview, the six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker talked about Nadal lacking match practice and believes other players might have a better chance at winning. World No.1 Novak Djokovic, who won the Italian Open 2020 has the game to topple Nadal and has beaten Rafa at the French Open quarterfinals in 2015.
“Even a Rafael Nadal needs match practice, and that’s missing this year,” said Becker in Hamburg. “He remains my number one for the title, but I think the others’ chances are much better this year.”
Becker said that unlike this year, Nadal would always come to the French Open after playing multiple Masters 1000 tournaments on clay. During the twelve times that Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros, he had at least won one clay-court competition prior to it. “He usually plays Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, and Rome and comes to Paris with a lot of match experience. This year is different,” said Becker.
The German admitted that the conditions in Paris would differ from the usual ones. The French Open is typically held in May. However, this year, it got pushed to October because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, the slow surface conditions due to lower temperatures might not suit Nadal, who has traditionally preferred to play under sunny conditions. “These are conditions that don’t suit Nadal,” said Becker.
While the initial signs might not be in Nadal’s favor, he could still turn the tables at his beloved Grand Slam.