Rafael Nadal has not been preparing for the clay season so well in a long time. In 2015 he was anxious and his results showed it, last year he started to feel wrist issues that forced him to withdraw from Roland Garros.
This time the Spaniard is doing well both mentally and physically, and after the Miami event he trained in Mallorca for more than a week with young players like Casper Ruud, a 18-year-old from Norway who got some great results recently on the ATP and Challenger Tours. On Friday morning, Rafa landed in Monte Carlo, where next week he will bid to win his tenth title there. 'When you come back in a tournament where you have been so successful, memories are always special,' Nadal told IB3 TV. 'I would like to win in Monte Carlo, and if I will be doing well, I will have my chances.'
Then he will play in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and obviously Roland Garros, a tournament that he won nine times. Just about his chances in the second Major event of the year, Nadal added: 'If I play well I will have chances to fight to win, otherwise I won't. It's simple, it's not about dreaming to win or not.'
The world no. 5 has almost 600 points less than the fourth ranked Roger Federer, who won't play again until French Open. Despite the Swiss player's absence in the clay season, Rafa thinks that it will be 'very unlikely' to be in the top-four again, 'but if I have a good season on clay it's possible. So far for me 2017 season went well. I am happy, I've been consistent and I've had only a few bad matches', said Nadal, who played and lost three finals, two of them against Federer at the Australian Open and Miami, and one against Sam Querrey at Acapulco.