Judging by the way Rafael Nadal has cruised through to the quarter-finals of the French Open 2020, there are few arguments to make against him being at his best. However, according to his coach Carlos Moya, Nadal is actually struggling with his form a little bit. Even though the conditions at Court Philippe-Chatrier are not exactly the kind of conditions Rafa thrives in, there is little doubt that even on a bad day, he can be better than most on clay.
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Coach Carlos Moya on Rafa’s French Open 2020 form
In an interview with the ATP Tour, Moya said that even though Rafael Nadal has had no trouble getting into the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, he still isn’t at his 100%. Moya said that the extended lockdown has had a significant impact on the 12-time French Open winner’s mental preparedness and his physical form.
He has previously talked about how the uncertainty of the return of the tour coupled with social distancing measures made it difficult for Nadal to train regularly. Moya explained that it was only after the schedule was released that Rafa really went into intensive practice sessions, and that cost him a little in Rome.
According to Moya, the only thing that can have a person 100% prepared is the actual match. Being put in high-pressure situations like having to defend breakpoints and win tie-breaks against difficult competitors is what he believes will give Rafa the confidence to dominate in the finals. However, Moya also said that he didn’t want his student to have too many long matches – something that hasn’t been an issue so far – as he believes it is best to go into the finals properly rested.
Talking about life in the French Open 2020 bubble, Moya said that they weren’t finding it very difficult to adjust to the conditions. He said that dinners outside had been replaced TV watching and playing card games to decompress after matches. All in all, he said that they were grateful to be playing the tournament at all and focused on their main objective – winning the 13th title.
Rafa’s French Open 2020 run
Despite some complaints about conditions at French Open 2020, Rafa has powered through his opponents with no real resistance. His biggest challenge came in his round one match against Egor Gerasimov, but even then he was never in any real danger. Rafa won that match 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, a sound defeat by all means, and yet his worst performance the French open so far.
After working out the rustiness and court conditions, Rafa dominated over American Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3, Stefano Travaglia 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 and Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.
He will face Italian youngster Jannik Sinner who has just come off a victory over No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev. This will be the first meeting between the two, and perhaps Rafa’s first real challenge at the tournament. If Rafa gets through, he may meet US Open 2020 champion, Dominic Thiem, in the semi-final. Rafa will be hoping to equal Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam title record with a win in Paris.
Image Credits: Roland Garros website