RAFAEL NADAL is hoping to win the French Open again this year.
Rafael Nadal has admitted that he struggled to be confident in terms of his opportunities to win the French Open. The Spaniard has ruled the highest in Roland Garros 13 times in the past. However, due to injury and failure to win one of the pre-tournament competitions, he was not too carried away.
As expected, Nadal has sailed through to the third round of the French Open as he looks to win a stunning 22nd Grand Slam.
The 35-year-old, who claimed Australian Open glory back in January, has beaten Corentin Moutet and Jordan Thompson without dropping a set so far.
Next up for Nadal is a showdown with Botic van de Zandschulp, who is the 26th seed for the competition.
And, speaking ahead of that showdown, the so-called ‘King of Clay’ has admitted he’s not getting too confident of winning the French Open again.
“The confidence is higher when you win Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, or Rome; it’s easy to understand,” he said.
“When you win more matches and tournaments, your confidence grows.
“Opponents also feel that, and you are more accustomed to the level you need to play to score victory.
“When this is not the problem, everything is different. But I never hoped to win 15 titles in Monte Carlo and Rome, so that’s the situation today.
“I was injured, and that’s all.
“I left him in the past, and I was here in Paris to try my best.
“I do not know how things would have looked if I had not gotten injured.
“I have to accept the situation, put in all my effort and get better as the tournament goes on.”
Nadal’s record at the French Open is nothing short of astonishing.
He’s lost just three matches over the years in Paris, with Robin Soderling the first man to get the better of him way back in 2009.
Roger Federer went on to win the competition that year, ending his agonising wait for the trophy in the process.
Rafael Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the French Open in 2015.
And it was a similar story when he locked horns with the Serb last year at the semi-final stage.
Meanwhile, speaking after his win over Motet, Rafael Nadal opened up on his return from injury and his plans to get even better.
He said: ”Well it’s a diary work, it’s a work of every day.
“Of course, the last couple of months haven’t been easy, even [though] the beginning of the season has been fantastic, unforgettable and very emotional.
“After Indian Wells I had the problem on my rib, I had to be off the court for a while so it’s day by day work, the victories helps a lot and playing rallies with matches like tonight [is] so important so that gives me the chance to have another practice tomorrow and then another match after tomorrow.”
Rafael Nadal is the only men’s player in history to win 21 Grand Slams.
As well as the 13 in France, he’s also won Wimbledon and Australian Open twice, and four US Opens.
His first Grand Slam triumph came at Roland Garros back in 2005 when he was just a teenager.