Slam drought done, Nadal heads to grass

Ostapenko moves up 35 ranking places to No 12 after her win at Roland GarrosYOAN VALAT  EPA

Ostapenko moves up 35 ranking places to No 12 after her win at Roland GarrosYOAN VALAT EPA

The Spaniard has become the first player to clinch a berth at the prestigious season-ending tournament, to be staged 12-19 November in London, after winning his record 10th Roland Garros title on Sunday in Paris. And suddenly, these two guys who - I don't want to say they were written off, but they certainly were B-level stars to Djokovic - have suddenly re-emerged. There are many young men's hopefuls including Francis Tiafoe, Hyeon Chung, Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev, Jared Donaldson etc. Tennis is so full of talented players but... but it's the great guy's day. So it's quite surprising that he hasn't pushed on since winning the French Open a year ago.

Among the Generation Next, only Thiem seems to possess the game to challenge Nadal on clay. Nadal said with a smile. "But if I am healthy and I am able to have the right preparation and feel healthy during Wimbledon, then probably gonna have my chances to play well".

In an effort to extend his career, Federer opted to skip the European claycourt swing this season to prepare for the grass and Wimbledon, which he has won seven times, most recently in 2012.

With the win, Nadal also extended his head-to-head lead over Wawrinka to a stellar 16-3, and improves to a ideal 10-0 in French finals.

In the Emirates ATP rankings released Monday, Wawrinka remains No 3, while Novak Djokovic moved two notches down to No 4.

Nadal's conditioning and the state of his joints-in particular his knees and elbows-have come to be accepted as critical factors affecting whether or not he can play to his best, playing surface being another.

Key Stat: Nadal ended Federer's 27-match winning streak at majors, preventing him from a fourth Grand Slam title in a row. "Andy Murray at his best will give him a great run but if Rafa comes up and starts whipping the balls all over the place like he has here, he'll be really unsafe".

The 52-year-old, who will work with Wawrinka's regular coach Magnus Norman, also coached 18-time grand slam victor Roger Federer in 2010 and 2011.

Since first qualifying in 2005, Nadal has earned a place in the elite eight-man field for 13 straight seasons.

"But that's clearly his best he ever play". In the French Open 2016, Nadal gave a walk over to his fellow countryman Marcel Granollers in the third round because of a wrist injury. "I like playing on grass and have been in five finals, remember that". So I hope that my knees hold well and I can have the preparation that I really need and the preparation that I wanted. "If that happens, why not?" If I have pain in my knees, then I know it's nearly impossible.

"I try my best in all events", Nadal said.

Wawrinka, the 2015 champion at Roland Garros, had been in scintillating form when dispatching world number one Andy Murray in Friday's epic semi-final.

A reporter wanted to know whether, during that time, Nadal harbored any doubts about returning to the heights of his sport. "You know, I played pretty well these last few matches".

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