Although Rafael Nadal has not quite been reaching the heights that he usually aims for recently, with his defeat in the Miami Open against Novak Djokovic a case in point, he is still almost unbeatable on his day when playing on his favourite surface of clay.
Nadal has dominated much of the last decade on clay and also managed to win every clay event last year, so there can be no doubt that he knows exactly what he needs to do if he is to repeat his success and the French Open odds
reflect this. Whether or not he can do this when it comes to the tennis action is down to his levels of self-belief and whether or not lady luck is on his side, for there is no doubting that in theory at least he still has the talent and tactical knowhow to defeat just about anyone on clay.
However, although this may well be the case, he will surely realise that he needs to see the reborn Novak Djokovic brought firmly back down to earth very quickly once the clay court season starts or else risk seeing the Serb continue his amazing start to 2011 by taking this confidence all the way to a victory at the French Open, a win that may well see Nadal knocked off the top of the world rankings.
When all is said and done, the fact remains that Nadal has shown himself
to be the most adaptable tennis player of his generation, meaning that he is the man whom everyone expects to adapt quickest to the transition over to clay. If he can live up to these expectations, Djokovic may have to wait a while yet before he stands a chance of being the world number one.