Rafael Nadal is feeling a chill in the wintery temperatures as the delayed version of the French Open prepares for a Sunday start.
With temperatures suddenly dropping in the French capital to a chilly 9 celsius on Friday, the 12-time champion from hot-weather Spain admits his chances of yet another title are the dicey at best.
“It’s a very strange situation,” the world No. 2 said at the COVID-affected Grand Slam which unilaterally rescheduled from May in hopes of somehow being completed amid the virus pandemic.
“Conditions here are very tough, the weather is so cold – very extreme for playing a tournament outdoors.”
But Nadal. who lost a Rome quarter-final last week to Diego Schwartzman in Indian summer temperatures , has no time to complain about the obstacles thrown up at Roland Garros.
“I’ve always been beatable on clay, but I’ve also had a lot of success on this surface. The situation this year is special.
“These conditions are the most difficult ever here for me, the (new) balls are also super-slow and heavy – they are jot the right ones for playing on clay.
“But I’m here to fight and play with my highest intensity. I want to find my possibilities with the right attitude. The goal is to be competitive day by day.
“I know this place very well, I will try and find positive vibes every day.”
The limit of 1,000 spectators on any given day due to the fresh COVID outbreak in Paris, has also caught Nadal’s eye.
After skipping the US Open, the 34-year-old has only experienced a crowd-free tennis environment in Rome.
“This is not the ideal situation, no one likes to play like this. But thanks to organisers for trying hard to put on events, even as they know they will lose money.
“Everyone wants to come back to normal, this is a time to stay together, we are fighting for the comeback of our Tour.
“But the biggest problem now is the worldwide health, but thanks that we can play tennis again.”