Federer-Nadal rivalry continues in Paris

20th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Tennis champion Rafael Nadal is favoured to beat Roger Federer in the French Open.

PARIS - Rafael Nadal may become the first man to win five successive French Open titles and end Roger Federer's ambition of earning a career Grand Slam.

In 2007, Federer ended Nadal's 81-match streak on clay courts at Hamburg but he was beat in their Paris competition.

In the 2008 Paris tournament, Federer won just four games in a one-sided final.

Additionally, Nadal has won all 28 matches he's played in Paris.

But Federer refuses to concede defeat due to his win in Madrid, which was his 58th career title, but first of 2009.

"He has never lost in Paris so obviously his confidence is very high, but I think we have seen that if you play Rafa the right way there are chances," said the 27-year-old world number two.

"I know his game inside out. It's not like he changes many things, he is just rock solid like when Leyton Hewitt was number one and all those other guys who were dominating from the baseline.

"He is the best mover on this surface. He is just an excellent competitor and that is what makes him so difficult to beat.

"I know what you have to do but it's not easy to do against him because he is so good."

Sunday's meeting in Madrid was the pair's 20th career competition with Nadal winning 13-7 overall, and 9-2 on clay.

Their rivalry is one of sports' most compelling with Nadal replacing Federer as Wimbledon champion in 2008 before reducing the Swiss to tears after victory in Australia in 2009.

Worryingly for Federer, Nadal was claimed the altitude in Madrid gave the courts added speed likely to favour his opponent.

In Paris, the surfaces are slower, the points longer.

"I'm not a fortune teller," said Nadal when invited to look ahead to the French Open.

"The situation in Madrid...isn't normal because of the altitude. The ball is going higher and it doesn't always go as high on other clay courts.

"For me, this tournament has nothing to do with Paris. I think Roger has the potential to win in Paris, he's one of the favourites. But the tournament hasn't started and we're talking about the final."

Dave James / AFP / Expatica

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