Simon Reed

King of clay will be in seventh heaven

Simon Reed

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As long as his knees hold up, I see Rafael Nadal winning his seventh Grand Slam at this year's French Open.

Roger Federer pushed him quite close in Madrid last Sunday, but that is only the best-of-three sets. The best-of-five sets is a different kettle of fish when you are playing Nadal.

I think he is too powerful. For me, he is a red-hot favourite with Federer an outside second favourite.

I honestly think there is nobody who can really touch Nadal over two weeks at the French Open - if his knees are in good condition. There just isn't. He is simply too strong.

He seems fit again, and his mental attitude is better than it was before. He had all sorts of personal problems last year. I just think he is the complete package again. It would be crazy to oppose him.

It is possible he could do the French and Wimbledon double this summer. I still think Federer goes into Wimbledon as favourite. Not as an overwhelming favourite like Nadal is at Roland Garros, but he remains the top dog there.

I wouldn't want to back Federer as a big favourite at Wimbledon, but he is a justifiable favourite on grass, as opposed to clay where it is tougher for him to live with Nadal over five sets.

Can Andy Murray make an impact at the French? I think he could, but again it is a tough examination of his stamina and strength. It is a huge ask for him because of the way he plays.

For him to play seven matches, potentially over five sets, could take a massive toll on him, both physically and mentally.

We saw a bit of the problem he faces last week in losing to David Ferrer in the Madrid quarter-finals. Can you imagine that type of match three times in a tournament over five sets? It really is a huge ask for the British hope.

I think Murray will go deep into the tournament, but imagine he will come up short somewhere along the line.

I don't see Andy Roddick as a contender at the French, but then of course he is a contender at Wimbledon. I'm not sure if playing the French will help him ahead of the grass season. I think he did miraculously well to get to the final at Wimbledon a year or so ago.

He is one of the players who could win Wimbledon, but I suspect he never will. I don't think he is quite good enough.

I think he may have overachieved last year. He was desperately unlucky to miss out.

Robin Soderling is never a respecter of reputations as we saw last year, but I don't think he can do it again against Nadal, not in the form he is in.  

The other guys like Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco almost succumb before they go on court against Nadal.

Being compatriots, I don't think that helps their situation when facing Rafa, but then the same could be said for the most of the field at Roland Garros. 

French Open: Sunday 9.30am LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) & on the Eurosport Player.

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