Rafael Nadal has shared his thoughts on the return of old rival and fellow Big 3 Roger Federer to Roland-Garros. The current world No. 3 said the champion’s decision to return to a Grand Slam that has not proven to be as lucky and fruitful as the others has not taken him by surprise. Speaking to the Spanish publication Marçà, Nadal said that the return of the 20-time Grand Slam champion to the French Open is a great “positive” not only for his fans but also for the sport. The 39-year-old Swiss returned to action after a 14-month break from the Tour to recover from a second knee surgery he underwent last year. Amid mounting expectations surrounding his return, Federer won his comeback match at ATP Doha against British number one Dan Evans, but was unable to advance further. He then withdrew from subsequent events to focus on training and fitness ahead of the grass court season, or more precisely, Wimbledon. Although he confirmed his participation in the Noventi Open in Halle, Germany, which has been a traditional tuning event for him before Wimbledon, it was not known if he would play any role on the European clay court stage. However, that was before the 2009 French Open champion put an end to all speculation by being available at the clay-court event in Geneva, as well as his return to Roland-Garros. Rafael Nadal says Roger Federer’s return to the French Open is positive Although it is not known whether Nadal had a word with Federer about his return to Roland-Garros, the Spaniard said he “knew”. Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal recently spoke to a Spanish sports website about a variety of topics. Toni touched upon the Barcelona Open final between his nephew and Stefanos Tsitsipas, before giving his thoughts on why Novak Djokovic still remains Nadal’s closest rival on clay despite the Serb’s recent lull in form.
Toni Nadal on the Barcelona final
“The Barcelona final was not a great match, Rafa and Stefanos did not play well even if it was very emotional,” Rafael Nadal’s former coach & uncle Toni said. But in the same breath, he claimed that the Barcelona victory ought to boost the 20-time Major winner’s confidence going forward. “Rafa made unforced errors that he doesn’t usually make. But this win will give him confidence,” Toni said. The Spaniard used to find it tough to break down Djokovic’s game during the early 2010s, even on his favorite surface.