x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Pressure no factor for Rafael Nadal ahead of historic French Open final

Weather threatens to dampen Rafa Nadal's bid for record seventh French Open title as Spaniard insists he does not feel under pressure.

Rafael Nadal ahead of his French Open final.
Rafael Nadal ahead of his French Open final.

PARIS // Rafael Nadal says he feels "zero" pressure going into today's history-defining French Open final against Novak Djokovic, even as heavy rain threatens to swamp the Roland Garros spectacle.

Nadal is bidding to become the first man to win seven French Open titles but faces the world No 1 Djokovic who needs a first Paris crown to become just the third man to hold all four grand slams at the same time.

"The pressure is zero," said the Spaniard, the world No 2. Nadal has a 51-1 record on the clay courts of Roland Garros and has reached his seventh final for the loss of just 35 games and without dropping a set.

"The pressure is that it's another final at Roland Garros. If I get the seven, maybe that's important, maybe not. But the pressure is the same every year. The important thing is that it's the French Open, one of my top tournaments of the year.

"I am playing well almost every day. I have to respect Djokovic as he has beaten me many times. I will fight for every ball and then we will see."

The eagerly-awaited clash today could be badly affected by heavy rain which is forecast to sweep across Paris, possibly pushing the final back to tomorrow.

"If it rains, then it rains and we play Monday," said Nadal. "I heard there was a chance of rain, but I am thinking about playing on Sunday. If not, I will come back on Monday."

* Agencies