We didn’t think it was possible, but it turns out that the King of Clay Rafael Nadal doesn’t really like playing on centre court at the Roland Garros French Open. However with a total of six Grand Slam titles won on that same court, it’s a little hard to believe that the Court Philippe Chartier really causes the world number 2 any problems.
Having only lost a single match on the centre court at Paris since his debut there in 2005, the press questions about whether or not Nadal liked the court did seem a bit out of place, which Nadal himself commented on when he replied that he’s “not the right player to say I don’t like that court. That’s the first thing”. He did go on to explain some of the difficulties that are inherent with playing on the court however: “The conditions can be very difficult to play….Because a lot of days in the outside court, the wind is almost zero, and you got to the centre (court) and you feel the wind”.
Despite the ambivalence about the French court, Nadal did admit that he has plenty of good memories of playing on the court that has brought him his record-equalling victories – “It’s a very special court I think…..It’s one of the more charismatic courts in the history of tennis”. He also had plenty of positive things to say about the dressing rooms at Roland Garros, which sound more like luxurious hotel rooms than locker rooms to change and warm up “There (Roland Garros) you have nice lounge for the players….You have a lot of TVs to see the matches”.
Nadal is heavily tipped to claim another trophy on the difficult clay centre court this year and if his blistering opening round is anything to go by. The Spaniard made quick work of his first opponent – Simone Bolelli – with a powerful 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 victory on his first and only match point of the game. He is set to face Denis Istomin in the next round, and will no doubt continue to set the pace for men’s professional tennis throughout his time in the tournament.