Rafael Nadal hoping to reach peak form in time for French Open

The Spaniard boasts an incredible record at Roland Garros, lifting the trophy in eight of the last nine years, with the only blip in that run coming after a fourth-round defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009.

Nadal has won all four tournaments since that shock exit, and is bidding to become the first man to secure five in a row.

The world number one has experienced mixed fortunes on clay this season, winning in Madrid and reaching the final in Rome, while suffering last-eight losses in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

But Nadal, who will take on Robby Ginepri in the first round, is confident that he will begin the defence of his title with his form on an upward curve.

“During the clay-court season, I got a little bit better week by week,” he said.

“Last week in Rome, it was tough physically. I played a lot of time, but in the end sometimes you need these things.

“I think I played a little bit better during the whole tournament, and especially after the first two rounds.

“I think it was a positive step for me, and I’m happy with the way that I finished in Madrid and Rome.

“I’m not that happy about what I did in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, but that’s sport.”

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