Nadal ready for title tilt

Rafael Nadal has arrived in Rome fresh off the back of another successful clay court period which has seen him win his 10th titles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona and lift his fifth Madrid Open trophy.

For the Spaniard however it’s a new week, he’s in a different city and he’s keen to put those results behind him as he focuses on trying to win the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the eighth time.

“Here I am in Rome. What happened in the past is past. Now I am here to keep trying my best in an event that I love so much,” said the world No. 4. “I had some unbelievable memories in this court. A lot of important matches in my career I played here. So just try to be ready for that.”

Nadal, who hasn’t won the title at the Foro Italico since 2013, knows he has some tough matches ahead if he is to add his name to the roll of honour here once again and those difficult matches start in the first round.

“Playing against [Nicolas] Almagro tomorrow always gonna be a very hard first round. He’s a great player. Last week in the first, second round, he almost win against Novak. He already won three matches here, if I am not wrong, because he’s coming from the qualifying. For me, is always dangerous. First day after Madrid, different conditions, will be a dangerous one, no?” said Nadal. “I need to be focused. I need to play my best. Let’s see if I am able to do it.”

Nadal is in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem, who he defeated in the final in Madrid on Sunday and who he touts as a potential Roland Garros champion.

I think he’s [Thiem] a great player, no? He’s young enough to keep competing for the important things for the next ten years, probably, or eight years, I don’t know. Depends on him. He has a big potential. Probably his best surface is clay today, and if I have to say one tournament that he can win is Roland Garros, no? So let’s see. Hopefully not this year but let’s see.”

Nadal will play Almagro, who defeated Andreas Seppi 76(6) 63 in the first round on Monday, in his opening round match on Wednesday.