He has never played Roland Garros before and he might succumb to the pressure of being the favorite on his first try. Or maybe he won't, in which case he'll be a deserving champion.
I also feel that there is too much pressure on Nadal. He’s a kid of 18 who has never played at RG and yet he is being touted as the
favorite in some circles. I think that these heady expectations are a disservice to Nadal. I have the feeling that if he doesn’t win RG there will be the chorus of people unfairly calling him “overrated” while the fact that he has really become a major force on the tour and his accomplishments of the spring will be dismissed. He seems like such a nice and well grounded kid in interviews that I do feel a bit sorry for him.
Luckily, Nadal himself doesn’t consider himself the favorite and has repeatedly said so. Maybe that will help alleviate some of the pressure put on him.
As for who can beat him- who knows? If Coria or Ferrero find their true form at RG I would not be surprised to see either of them win it. Same with Gaudio. Federer may be really determined to get the monkey of not winning RG off of his back (though at his age it is certainly not time to panic about not winning). Safin as always is a crap shot- which Marat will show up? And there could be a surprise- Agassi, Gasquet, etc. That’s not to say that I don’t think Nadal won’t be able to win RG if he is not worn out and brings his A-game. But that is hard to do with best of 5-sets over 2 weeks if you’ve had the type of schedule that Rafael has. Of course, if Rafael does win, I will be very pleased and concur that he will be a deserving champion.