interview RolandGarros2011

Interview: Nadal: Djokovic is the big favorite


Video: Nadal: Djokovic the man to beat

RAFAEL NADAL : Djokovic is the big favorite
Friday, May 20, 2011

Rafael Nadal took advantage of his stay in Paris to sign a number of autographs on the Champs Elysées on Thursday. The world number one used the opportunity to make a few points clear before the start of Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal, if you win it in two weeks time, it’ll be your 6th victory in Roland Garros. Is that a challenge for you?
It’s always a challenge. The challenge is that I will ave to play my best tennis if I want a chance to win it. But to win Roland Garros is sufficiently motivating in itself. Should I win, I won’t say that I was expecting to win it six times.

You have been beaten by Novak Djokovic 4 times already in 2011, in the finals of Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome. Is this a “peculiar” year for you?

I think that what Novak has done is something really impressive. However, I’m not going to turn my focus only on him and especially not on an eventual final against him. There are quite a few match to win before that.

Is Novak Djokovic the favourite to win this 2011 edition of Roland Garros?

Absolutely. I think that he’s the big favourite. He hasn’t lost a match since the season started and he’s been playing fantastically.

Are you scared of Novak Djokovic?

Scared? No, but he’s doing incredible things at the moment. This will be very hard to reproduce in the future. I admire what he has done.

What will the playing conditions in Roland Garros be like now that they’ve changed the balls?

I played two hours on Thursday with Gilles Simon but it’s still a bit too soon to say what the conditions will be like, but they should be different than in the previous tournaments I played in. The balls seem to rebound a bit higher but I will need more hours on court to know more about it. So, I don’t really have an opinion on it yet.

Why did you train with Gilles Simon on Thursday ?

Because I get on well with him. I train with a lot of people all year long. There’s no special reason.

What do you think of Roger Federer’s level? You’ve beaten him in a tough semi-final match in Madrid.

I think that he will be one of the favourites because the Grand Slam tournaments are his speciality. He’s always very dangerous in the big events. He’s one of the best players in the history of the sport.

Who do you think is the best French player on tour ?

It’s hard to say because there are a lot of excellent players here in France. Richard Gasquet and Gaël Monfils have it in them to play really well. Monfils already played a semi-final in Roland Garros in the past and he will have his chances. It’s difficult to predict the future but those players have the potential to have a great tournament.

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