As Rafael Nadal embarks on yet another European clay season, we ask again just how many matches the King of Clay will lose on his favorite surface?
A well-rested Nadal begins his quest for an eighth French Open next week in Monte Carlo where the Spaniard puts a 15-match win streak on the line as he seeks a ninth title there. Rafa then is scheduled to play Barcelona, Madrid and Rome before heading to Roland Garros, his fifth and final stop of this clay campaign.
Despite some lingering knee issues, Nadal appears to be back in form winning three titles including Indian Wells since his return, his main rivals are questionable.
Top ranked Novak Djokovic is nursing a bad ankle and the Serb failed to reach the final at either Indian Wells or Miami.
Roger Federer is 31 and coming off a back injury.
Miami champion Andy Murray’s favorite surface isn’t clay.
And really since Nadal’s arrival onto the scene in 2005, there’s been no real clay threat who’s come along to challenge. David Ferrer or Nicolas Almagro? Juan Martin Del Potro plays his best on hardcourts as do the talented Frenchmen. But there truly isn’t a group a players on clay to threaten the top guys, especially Rafa.
So will anyone beat Rafa this clay season?
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