You don’t hear the name Rafa Nadal much anymore? Lots of Djokovic and plenty of Federer, the occasional hubbub about Andy Murray–but mostly silence from the Spaniard’s camp? Injuries will do that–and Nadal has been waylaid by them. But don’t be fooled, says Roger Federer–Nadal’s chief rival for a decade. Nadal is still the king of the clay and Roland Garros and anything to do with the French Open, says Federer. King until proven otherwise.
Nadal’s troubles so far this year on the clay–by far his favorite surface–should tempt only the amateurs to write him off, in Federer’s opinion. “Even though Nadal’s form is not as good as in previous years, I still believe when the French Open rolls around he is going to be very difficult to beat.” The Swiss master should know. Federer is the only man besides Nadal to have won a French Open in the last decade. He won exactly one (2009) to Nadal’s NINE. Injured or not, Nadal, currently ranked No. 4 in the world, will arrive in France as he almost always does: as the defending champ.