News Column

Spanish Pride at Stake in Nadal vs. Ferrer French Open Final

June 8, 2013

Bill Scott, dpa

Paris (dpa) - Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer will play for individual glory and Spanish national pride when they face off in the French Open final on Sunday.

For Nadal, an eighth title win will mean another record, becoming the first man to win that many singles title at the same grand slam.

Ferrer is competing in his first final at a major as the number five lifts his career-long struggle to keep pace with the four elites of the current game - Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Spain, working its way out of recession, can use a psychological lift. The nation is by far the most successful at Roland Garros, with Nadal one of six Spanish men to have lifted the title.

He also accounts for just over half of the 13 Roland Garros trophies owned by Spain.

World number four Nadal, with six titles on the ATP after starting his season in February due to lingering knee problems, owns a 19-4 mark over his friend Ferrer.

After beating Novak Djokovic in a gruelling five-setter to reach the title match, Nadal will wipe the mental slate clean for the all-Spanish showdown.

"Tomorrow is another day, my feelings will vanish, and then on Sunday I will play against an incredible player at a very high level," said the 11-time grand slam winner.

"As long as I haven't got the trophy in my hands, I'm not thinking about anything else. So far I have played an excellent tournament and I have reached these finals, which is amazing to me.

"But my objective is to continue 100 per cent. I think I could be very satisfied with what I have reached so far, but the tournament is not over yet."

Ferrer, a battle-hardened campaigner at age 31 who is playing the best tennis of his life, will work not to be over-awed on the big day.

"It's a dream for me to be a final of a grand slam, and Roland Garros is more important for me, he said.

"Of course, in the final I will fight. I will play against Rafael, and it's very important for us because, you know, we are Spanish players and this is very important for the country, also."

But Ferrer, who is yet to drop a set at Roland Garros and ousted local hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last four, knows well what awaits him on the clay.

"It is very difficult to beat Rafael in all the surfaces, but in clay court is more difficult. I need to play my best tennis to beat him," he said.

"I need to play very aggressive all the match, and to do my best tennis. I know he's the favourite, but I am going to be focussed every point. I will try to do my best.

"I'm not thinking about Rafael, if he's better than me or not. I will try to fight a lot and to play very good match. This match will depend on a lot of things."







Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH


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