“Difficult Conditions”: Serena Williams’ Coach Raises Doubts Over Rafael Nadal’s French Open Defense

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The French Open 2020 will kick off in two days on September 27. The tournament which usually takes place in late May and early June is taking place in late September and early October this year. The delay is due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent interview, renowned tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou said that it would be challenging for Rafael Nadal to win the French Open 2020.

“I think these conditions in Roland Garros this year are not the best conditions for Rafa,” said Mouratoglou.

The French coach said that with the temperature staying low and the humidity higher than the usual, it would be really arduous for players like Nadal who rely heavily on their topspin. Going by the numbers, many pundits are also of the same opinion. For the first time in 12 years, Nadal is going to play the French Open without having won any tournament on clay.

Read More: Why is it tough for Nadal to win the French Open 2020?

‘That’s going to be a disadvantage for him’- Mouratoglou on Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal Italian Open 2020
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 19, 2020, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter-final match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

The 12-time French Open winner Nadal is a player who prefers to play attacking tennis. As the conditions will make things slower this time, Mouratoglou said that Nadal will have to work on his gameplay and defensive skills.

“For Rafa’s topspin, it’s also going to be more challenging. One of the reasons that he is the ultimate clay-court player is because of the quality of his topspin. It is so difficult to control. It’s difficult to control because it’s explosive, and the ball is so explosive also because the courts are fast,” the coach said.

Mouratoglou emphasized the fact that it is the slower conditions that could be a disadvantage for Nadal. The 19-time Grand Slam winner will have to adapt to them. “That’s going to be a disadvantage for him compared to every other year. It’s difficult conditions for the ones who have a great quality of topspin. Also, for the ones who play very aggressive tennis because the conditions clearly will be much slower,” added Mouratoglou.

‘We are going to have a lot of surprises’- Mouratoglou ahead of French Open 2020

Mouratoglou, who coached 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams for eight years also said that there could be much more to come. The coach praised Djokovic and Thiem extensively as well.

“It makes it more interesting because for the last 15 years there was not so much suspense at the start of the tournament. I think this year we are going to have a lot of surprises. The preparation of the players is completely different. The weather conditions make this tournament a different tournament entirely. Also, we have two players that are at the top of their games, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic,” said the 50-year-old.

The French Open 2020 will undoubtedly be fascinating. It has the best player-on-clay in Nadal and a player unbeaten in 2020 in Djokovic. However, they can’t meet before the finals. Also, it will be worth watching Dominic Thiem who played the last two finals of the French Open 2020. Will Nadal be able to defend his title one more time?

Also Read: French Open 2020 draw

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