Rafael Nadal is all set to defend his title at Roland Garros, in an attempt to secure his 21st career grand slam title as the French Open 2021 begins on Sunday, in Paris. Nadal has won the French Open record 13 times.
Speaking in an interview with AFP, Rafael Nadal said: “Roland Garros is a very special place for me. My goal is to be the one who plays the best.” Despite his record at the tournament, Nadal added: “No one is invincible, anywhere.”
Nadal’s fans, who lovingly call him ‘Rafa’, expect the Spaniard to clinch the title again. “With age catching up, I think this Roland Garros will be one of Nadal’s toughest ever. He definitely didn’t look unbeatable in this year’s clay court season. That said, he’s still the favourite to win the tournament, but watch out for Djokovic and Thiem as well.,” said Parth Chawla, who has been supporting Nadal since 2008.
At the tournament draw on Thursday, the ‘Big 3’ of tennis, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, were placed in the same half of the tournament, reported Times of India. This effectively means that 2 of these 3 could possibly face each other in the Quarter Finals of the event.
“Although the fans must be excited to see the big 3 in the same draw, I think it will be a straightforward win for Nadal,” said Ankit Sharma, a tennis fan.
The tournament also marks the return of former world No. 1 Roger Federer from a long injury. This will be Federer’s first grand slam appearance since the Australian Open 2020. “After a long injury break, I’m really looking forward to seeing him back on court. I hope he can get some form and set the tone for Wimbledon next month,” said Shreshth Makker, a Federer fan.
In the women’s category, American Serena Williams will be looking forward to securing her 24th career grand slam, and in the process equalling Margaret Court’s tally. “Serena is a big name and certainly a favourite, but this year she’ll be pipped by either Iga or Naomi, “ said Chawla.
Fourth-seed Sofia Kenin has been drawn against 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko. This will be the biggest clash in the first round. Defending Champion Iga Swiatek will begin her tournament against Kaja Juvan. Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty and Aryna Sabalenka are other favourites for the tournament.