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Rafael Nadal: 10 Reasons Why He’ll Definitely Win 2011 French Open

Carrie DunnAnalyst IIMay 16, 2011

Rafael Nadal: 10 Reasons Why He’ll Definitely Win 2011 French Open

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 15:  Rafael Nadal of Spain shows his dejection during the final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day eight of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 15, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Bruns
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Novak Djokovic's win in Rome yesterday was a turn-up for the books.

    Rafael Nadal's dominance on clay finally looks like it might be challenged—he admitted he's been the best clay player in the world for ages, but now he's not. Was that statement a clever bit of psychology prior to the French Open at Roland Garros or endearing honesty?

    The next few weeks will make that clear, but I personally still expect Nadal to be biting that trophy at the end of the tournament. Here's why...

1. He Did It Last Year

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    PARIS - JUNE 06:  Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's singles final match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Robin Soderling of Sweden on day fifteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 6, 2010 in Paris, France.
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    And in 2008. And the three years before that.

    This is his second home.

2. Equalling Records

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    PARIS - MAY 25:  Rafael Nadal of Spain serves during the men's singles first round match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Gianni Mina of France on day three of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2010 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    If he wins this year, that would be his sixth French Open win, which would equal Bjorn Borg’s record (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981).

3. Breaking Records

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 15:  Rafael Nadal of Spain in action during the final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day eight of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 15, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last year—and in 2008—he won without dropping a set. If he does the same this year, he’ll surpass Borg’s achievement in 1978 and 1980.

4. Proving His Power

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 14:  Rafael Nadal of Spain  celebrates victory after his semi final match against Richard Gasquet of France during day seven of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre  on May 14, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Sure, he’s the world No. 1 and one of the best players of all time, but this year, ill health seems to have crept up on Rafa—he’s cited "fever" as a problem on a few occasions, and he has suffered those niggling, nasty injuries over recent seasons.

    For someone whose game focuses on his muscle, he’ll be desperate to prove how strong he is.

4. Roger Federer

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 11:  Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand during his second round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during day four of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 11, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    He’ll want to kick Roger Federer while he’s down…in an affectionate way, obviously, but while the probably greatest-ever player suffers a slump in form, it will be a chance for Nadal to prove his dominance.

6. Novak Djokovic

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 15:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point in the final against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day eight of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 15, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    The talk of the court is that Rafa-Nole is the real rivalry these days.

    Djokovic has already beaten Nadal in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome in the Masters events, and he also won the Australian Open at the start of the year.

    Rafa will want to prove why he’s No. 1 and do it resoundingly on the big stage.

7. Peer Reviews

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 11:  Rafael Nadal of Spain signs autographs after his second round match against Paolo Lorenzi of Italy during day four of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 11, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Even as he was celebrating his win over Nadal in Madrid, Djokovic admitted that the No. 1 “is right up there before anybody” when it comes to Roland Garros.

    That kind of iconic status is tough to overcome.

8. Betting Odds

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    MONACO - APRIL 17:  Rafael Nadal of Spain with the trophy after defeating David Ferrer of Spain in the final during Day Eight of the ATP Masters Series Tennis at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 17, 2011 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Julian Finn
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Look at the betting prices that are being quoted. Bookies aren’t stupid. They’re not poor, either.

9. Crowd Support

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 14:  Rafael Nadal of Spain applauds the crowd after his straight sets victory against Gael Monfils of France in their quarter final match during the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 14, 2010 in Ma
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    He always gets great support at Roland Garros, where they welcome his style, power and humility.

    That kind of backing counts for a lot.

10. King of Clay

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    PARIS - JUNE 06:  Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's singles final match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Robin Soderling of Sweden on day fifteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 6, 2010 in Paris, France.
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    It’s not just a clever nickname. It’s a fact.

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