Rafael Nadal is favorite at French Open despite 'open' draw: Laura Robson

Laura Robson dissects Rafael Nadal
Laura Robson dissects Rafael Nadal's French Open chances.

The 2023 French Open will have a 'wide open' draw but Rafael Nadal will go in as the clear favorite to win the title despite his ongoing injury problems and lack of match-time, according to Laura Robson. The former player-turned-commentator believes Nadal's forehand will be the most defining aspect of his form during the clay-court season.

The Spaniard's comeback has been delayed as he officially withdrew from the Monte-Carlo Masters due to a prolonged recovery from a hip injury he sustained at the start of the season. He is now expected to make a comeback at the Barcelona Open in two weeks.

Dissecting Nadal's chances of winning a 15th French Open title in June, Robson stressed that the Spaniard will need a few matches under his belt ahead of the clay Major. Having said that, she feels his awe-inspiring numbers at Roland Garros make him a strong favorite despite heavy competition.

"The numbers that he's had at Paris, it's like hard to wrap your head around, but I just think he needs matches," Laura Robson told Eurosport.
"The draw is wide open, but for me, it's hard to root against Rafa on clay."

For Robson, watching a fully fit Nadal compete on clay is a 'magical' feeling. She further opined that if the 22-time Grand Slam champion's forehand gets firing right away once he makes a comeback, he will be hard to stop at the French Open.

"It's like a magical thing to watch him on clay when he's 100% fit and just able to come up with something special," Robson continued.
"If his forehand game is strong from the start in Barcelona, then maybe a 15th title is on the way."

The Spanish great won the 2022 French Open despite struggling with a serious foot problem throughout his clay-court campaign.

"Not yet able to play with maximum guarantees" - Rafael Nadal on Monte-Carlo withdrawal

The Spaniard has not competed since the 2023 Australian Open.
The Spaniard has not competed since the 2023 Australian Open.

Announcing his withdrawal from the upcoming Monte-Carlo Masters, Rafael Nadal revealed that he is still not prepared to compete at the highest level, as he continues to train at his academy in Mallorca. The Spaniard expressed that he is still unable to "play with maximum guarantees."

“Hello everyone, I am still not prepared to compete at the highest level so I will not be able to play in one of the most important tournaments of my career, Monte Carlo. Unfortunately I am not yet able to play with maximum guarantees,” he said in a statement.

Last season, Nadal missed Monte-Carlo and Barcelona due to a different injury, before returning to compete in Madrid, where he lost in the quarterfinals. His Italian Open campaign was also marred by a recurring foot injury, before he went on to win the French Open.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Aayush Majumdar
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