Home Rafael Nadal makes big French Open claim ahead of Italian Open clash with Damir Dzumhur | Tennis | Sport

Rafael Nadal makes big French Open claim ahead of Italian Open clash with Damir Dzumhur | Tennis | Sport

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Nadal was sensationally dumped out of the Madrid Open last week, losing in straight sets to Austrian star Thiem.

That result means the Spaniard has, once again, relinquished his No 1 rank to long-term rival Roger Federer.

Rafael Nadal will, however, go into the French Open later this month expected to triumph at Roland Garros again.

The 31-year-old has won 10 titles in Paris and, with Federer opting not to take part, Grand Slam No 17 could beckon.

And Nadal does not think his defeat to Thiem will impact his hopes of triumphing again.

“I never consider no one of these events like preparation for another one,” Nadal said of the Italian Open, which starts today.

“Never approach it — no one event, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, like an approach for Roland Garros.

“Every tournament is very important for itself. And for me, even more. Because I have a great story on all these events.

“I won here seven times. And, for me, it’s very special always to play here in this tournament.

“So, I can win Roland Garros losing here, and I can win Roland Garros winning here.

“I don’t think what happens here is going to make a big impact on what can happen in two weeks.

“But there is one thing that is 100% sure, I am not thinking in Roland Garros when I am here. I am thinking all about Rome.”

Nadal will face Damir Dzumhur in the round of 32 this afternoon.

Dzumhur has already sprung one surprise this tournament, beating Fernando Verdasco in the previous round.

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