Golf game uplifts Nadal ahead of French Open

Updated: 21 May 2011 15:55 IST

Rafael Nadal is hoping that a few pars and birdies on the golf course might help him combat the growing menace to his world crown that represents Novak Djokovic.

Golf game uplifts Nadal ahead of French Open
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Paris:

Rafael Nadal is hoping that a few pars and birdies on the golf course might help him combat the growing menace to his world crown that represents Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard sensationally lost to the Serb in the finals of the Madrid and Rome Masters, two key claycourt tournaments in the buildup to Roland Garros.

Suddenly, from being the outstanding favourite to add a sixth French Open crown to his collection, Nadal, as he freely admits himself, is the underdog.

He is also facing the possibility of losing his world number one spot to Djokovic who only needs to reach the final to achieve that milestone in his career.

But there has been no sense of panic from Nadal who headed home after his defeat in Rome to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca to take it easy catching up with friends and family and indulging in his new-found passion for golf.

"I played a very good round on the second day," Nadal said after getting his Roland Garros preparations underway out on the Philippe Chatrier centre-court.

"First day just practiced a little bit. Second day I played six over in Pula. Darren Clarke won there a few days ago, so it was fantastic. The course was in perfect condition," he said.

Despite the run of defeats to Djokovic, Nadal said had no intention of becoming fixated with the Serb to the detriment of his own game even though he would take a close look at his tactics to see what he could improve.

"When you lose, you have to try and find a solution. You have to try and find different things," he said.

"Is like football no? For example Real Madrid lost 5-0 gainst Barcelona in the league and then they go to the next match and that one they play different tactically.

"In football it's easier to make big changes because you have 11 people.

"In the tennis ... it is much more difficult to make big changes. But always you can adjust a few things."

"However to think about Djokovic right now would be a big, big mistake, because I don't know if I am going to play this match ever in this tournament."

Nadal said he was already concentrating fully on his opening opponent - towering American John Isner who he described as being "one of these players that you prefer not to have in the first round."

If he gets through that he could be heading for another matchup, in the last eight, with big Swede Robin Soderling who remains the only player to have beaten him at Roland Garros, in the fourth round of 2009.

Nadal gained his revenge last year with a straight sets demolition of Soderling in the final.

Topics : Tennis Novak Djokovic Venus Williams Rafael Nadal Juan Martin del Potro Andy Murray French Open 2011
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