RAFA FA­VORED AT ROLAND GAR­ROS

Diego showed that Nadal is beat­able on clay

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - BUSINESS -

ROME,

Italy (AFP) — Rafael Nadal re­mains “No. 1 fa­vorite” for Roland Gar­ros, ri­val No­vak Djokovic said Mon­day, de­spite say­ing the Spa­niard’s last-eight exit at the Ital­ian Open showed he can be beaten on clay.

Nadal, a 12-time Roland Gar­ros win­ner, lost in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Ital­ian Open to world num­ber 15 Diego Schwartz­man.

“Even though he lost this week, I still think, a lot of peo­ple will agree, he’s the num­ber one fa­vorite and, the record that he has there, the his­tory of his re­sults, you just can’t put any­body in front of him,” said Djokovic.

World No. 1 Djokovic beat Ar­gen­tine Schwartz­man 7-5, 6-3 in Mon­day’s fi­nal to win a fifth Rome ti­tle, and a record 36th Mas­ters crown to move one bet­ter than Nadal.

“But, you know, def­i­nitely Diego showed that Nadal is beat­able on clay,” added the Serb.

Con­di­tions in Roland Gar­ros could also have an im­pact, with the tour­na­ment pushed back to autumn be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Nadal “prefers high bounces, that it is hot, that the ball goes fast,” said Djokovic, the French Open cham­pion in 2016.

“So let’s see. It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing. I think even though he’s the num­ber one fa­vorite, I think there are play­ers that can win against him there.”

Schwartz­man agreed that Nadal was the fa­vorite.

“Rafa is the king. It’s his house. He went to Roland Gar­ros many years play­ing good, some­times not play­ing his best and he won.

“I think Rafa is al­ways there, the guy who is go­ing to win.”

CLIVE BRUNSKILL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RAFAEL Nadal strikes a for­mi­da­ble pres­ence on clay.

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