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Spaniard Rafael Nadal is 17-1 on clay so far this season.

Nadal Prepares For Run At History In Roland Garros

Fourth-seeded Nadal opens against Paire

The season of “La Décima” ascends to its final stage during the next two weeks, and the conquistador, Rafael Nadal, appears primed for more history. Nadal will go for a record 10th title at Roland Garros, the season's second Grand Slam, which starts Sunday.

He's approaching unprecedented tennis history: No man or woman has won a Grand Slam title 10 times in the Open Era, since April 1968. But Nadal, who won Roland Garros crowns in 2005-08 and '10-14, has already entered double digits at two tournaments this year.

The Spaniard captured his 10th title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Two weeks ago, he also won his fifth Mutua Madrid Open crown. Nadal is feeling positive as he prepares in Paris this week.

“I feel at home because I have a great relationship with all the girls that are working here, with a lot of people that are running the event. It's always good to see people that I have spent a lot of days in my life with,” said Nadal, who is making his 13th consecutive appearance at the tournament. “I just say thanks to them for everything that they do for me, and I feel great every time that I have the chance to be back here and to see all of them.”

The 30 year old Nadal boasts a remarkable 72-2 record at Roland Garros. Only three times since 2005 has he not reached the title match, including last season when a left wrist injury forced him to withdraw prior to his third-round match against countryman Marcel Granollers.*

Nadal Through The Years At Roland Garros

Year

Result

Opponent

2016

Third Round

w/o to Granollers*

2015

QF

l. to Djokovic

2014

Champion

d. Djokovic

2013

Champion

d. Ferrer

2012

Champion

d. Djokovic

2011

Champion

d. Federer

2010

Champion

d. Soderling

2009

Round of 16

l. to Soderling

2008

Champion

d. Federer

2007

Champion

d. Federer

2006

Champion

d. Federer

2005

Champion

d. Puerta

But the draw certainly didn't treat him like a nine-time champion. Nadal opens against Frenchman Benoit Paire, No. 45 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 28 year old beat World No. 3 and 2015 Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters earlier this month.

Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0 and both meetings came on clay – 2013 Madrid, 2013 Barcelona.

“He's not an opponent you want to play against in the first round. He's a player with big talent – great serve, great hands and a fantastic backhand. He's a dangerous opponent,” Nadal said.

A year ago, the Spaniard also arrived at Roland Garros feeling positive. The left-hander had won his ninth title in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and was again one of the top contenders to take the Roland Garros crown. But the nagging injury cut short his stay in Paris. “I hope that the story doesn't repeat itself,” Nadal said, smiling.

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This season, though, the Spaniard has more than returned to his best level. With the addition of former World No. 1 Carlos Moya to his team, Nadal has reached three hard-court finals and won three clay-court titles already this year.

On the red dirt, the left-hander is 17-1, with his only loss coming to Dominic Thiem in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-finals last week in Rome. Nadal beat Thiem in straight sets to win the Barcelona and Madrid titles.

“Since the beginning of the season I am happy with the way that I have played. I think I played well in almost every event... played well on hard. Then played great on clay,” Nadal said. “Here we are, another year, just trying to have the right days of practice before the competition starts. I know I need to be ready in the beginning because I have a tough opponent in the first round. So I am focused.”

Nadal could meet Thiem in the semi-finals. “I am very happy the way that I arrived here. Now I have to play well here. That's all,” Nadal said.

Nadal On Clay In 2017

Tournament

Result

Opponent

Internazionali BNL d'Italia

QF

l. to Thiem

Mutua Madrid Open

Champion

d. Thiem

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Champion

d. Thiem

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

Champion

d. Ramos-Vinolas

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