Millennium Post

I have already exceeded dreams, says Nadal

Rafael Nadal shrugged off his assault on a record seventh French Open title and admitted that by equalling Bjorn Borg's super six last year he had already defied his own expectations.

The Spaniard has won six of the last seven tournaments, putting together a formidable 45-1 match record on the crushed brick of Paris.

And this season, Nadal has, once again, been surpreme on European clay, boasting a 16-1 record with titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

'I have much more than I ever dreamed,' said Nadal.

'I am coming here every year with the motivation to play well. But I am not going to be more motivated because I have six and I can win seven. No. I was not more motivated when I arrived here in 2005 than today. I was not more motivated in 2010 when I lost in 2009. The motivation always is the same -- sometimes you lose; sometimes you win. That's sport and that's the game.'

Despite his caution, the 25-year-old admits, however, that stopping his seven-final losing streak to world number one Novak Djokovic, and reeling off two wins on clay this spring against the Serb, could prove crucial over the next two weeks in Paris.

Those victories gave him a seventh Monte Carlo and sixth Rome Masters crown.

'I started the red clay court season very well. I played fantastic tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome. I'm playing well. I arrive here with positive feelings, and I will try my best to be very competitive and to be in the right level to have my chances.'

Djokovic has the chance over the next two weeks to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.

Nadal had a similar opportunity at greatness last year when he went to the Australian Open needing victory to secure all four majors, only to suffer an injury-hit quarter-final exit.

'This one is not going to be more difficult because he already won three. When I went to Australia in 2011 with the chance to win four in a row, I felt zero extra pressure,' said Nadal.

'Because when you start the tournament, you play day by day. I think about that tournament, not what happened in the past. You are there, you can win, you can lose. I got injured. I lost. That's it.'

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