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Spanish Tennis Icon Rafael Nadal & the French Open Love Affair

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If there is one player who has become synonymous with the annual Paris Open tournament, it is undoubtedly Rafael Nadal, who will be chasing an unprecedented thirteenth championship at the Roland Garros venue. 

The 36-year-old tennis megastar would also claim the twenty-first Grand Slam of his illustrious career, pushing him one major event victory ahead of Swiss legend Roger Federer, with whom the Spaniard is currently tied. According to the tennis odds from Betfair where he’s valued as the 5/6 outright French Open 2021 favorite, Nadal is comfortably expected to meet his expectations in Paris.

Such is his impressive level of success on the clay courts at Roland Garros, the venue has almost become a home from home for Nadal, who always enjoys affectionate backing from the local Parisian fans. Oftentimes, they have been known to provide plenty of vocal support for Nadal, cheering and chanting his name, whilst booing or even heckling some of his opponents.

The French Open was the first Grand Slam tournament triumph for Nadal back in 2005, marking the path of what has become a spectacular and hugely successful career in professional tennis. Having won the French Open more times than any other player in the history of the tournament, only three other competitors have managed to win the tournament while Nadal has been present.

Roger Federer won the French Open in 2009, while his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka triumphed in 2015. Then, in 2016, Novak Djokovic secured victory at the tournament, although Nadal had been forced to retire with a wrist injury, which affected him prior to the third round of the event that year. However, last year at Roland Garros it was Nadal who reigned supreme once again, beating Djokovic by straight sets in the final.

Quickly catching both Federer and Nadal and having won 18 Grand Slam titles to date, Djokovic is widely regarded as the biggest challenger the Spaniard will face at the French Open. The powerful 33-year-old Serbian is currently top of the official ATP Tour Rankings, comfortably ahead of Nadal who sits in third position at present.

Nevertheless, clay courts have always been somewhat of a thorn in the side of Djokovic, whereas Nadal has always flourished on the technically challenging red surfaces. When the duo met in the final of the 2021 Italian Open recently, also played on clay courts, it was Nadal who demonstrated his superiority to win the tournament.

For this reason, the latest tennis tips predict yet another triumph for Nadal in Paris, although clearly Djokovic is widely regarded as the biggest threat he will potentially face. Hailing from the town of Manacor on the island of Mallorca, there is also no doubt that Nadal considers Djokovic the biggest rival ahead of the French Open.

When the tournament begins at the magnificent Roland Garros stadium complex, named after the French aviation pioneer, it is Nadal who will be hoping to be elevated towards the next chapter in his amazing tennis career. Should he win the French Open this year, the Spaniard’s love affair with the tournament will be on full display, as he becomes the most successful Grand Slam player in tennis history.