Old foe Novak Djokovic and damp weather conditions are the most likely obstacles to claycourt machine Rafael Nadals bid for a record-extending eighth French Open title over the next two weeks. Nadal,who last year beat Bjorn Borgs record of six Roland Garros crowns,has lost only one match on the Paris clay and has already won five titles on the slow surface this year.
However,Serbias Djokovic ended the Spaniards eight-year reign at the Monte Carlo Masters to show he is beatable on the red dust after all. Cold and wet weather could also threaten Nadal,whose devastating top spin works best on dry courts.
Temperatures are set to barely reach 15 degrees Celsius in the first week of the French Open,with rain showers forecast every day from Tuesday onwards,conditions reminiscent of 2009 when the Spaniard lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round.
The only negative thing is this cold, Nadal,who came back this year from a seven-month knee injury layoff,said. Nadal,with 11 grand slam titles on all surfaces to his name,is just happy to be back playing and winning at Roland Garros again this year is not the be-all and end-all.
World no.1 Djokovic,in contrast,has put a lot of pressure on his shoulders having yet to triumph at the French Open. He has asked his support team and reporters not to tell him who his potential second or third round opponents are so he can focus on his opener against Belgian David Goffin.
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