‘Rafa Nadal isn’t as strong on clay as last year’, says Boris Becker
Boris Becker said Rafael Nadal has not been “that dominant yet this year” on clay and believes the Spaniard needs to win Rome to arrive at Roland Garros with confidence.
During the 2021 clay court season, Nadal has won the Barcelona Open ATP 500 tournament and reached the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 events in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
He is also through to the semi-finals of this week’s Italian Open – where he will face Reilly Opelka tomorrow.
“Nadal has a passport and it says age 35 from June,” six-time major champion Becker said on Das Yellow vom Ball Eurosport podcast.
“Let’s talk about Nadal 2020 for now: I’ve never seen him as strong as he was in last year’s French Open final against Novak Djokovic. But tennis is fleeting, only the next match counts.
“This year I haven’t seen him as strong on clay as last year. If he doesn’t win Rome now either, he can’t come to Paris with an incredible amount of confidence.
“Yes, he has won the tournament 13 times, but I didn’t find him that dominant yet this year. Even in Barcelona he had to go over three sets – he didn’t win that as dominantly as he has in the past.”