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French Open: Can Federer Beat Nadal?

Will this be the year that Roger Federer finally finishes first at the French Open?

The French Open Tennis Tournament Starts on Saturday, May 23 at Roland Garros in Paris, France. Federer still has a chance to break Pete Sampras’s all-time record for Grand Slam titles with a win. However, he’ll have to go through his archrival Rafael Nadal.

Nadal knocked Federer out of the world’s no. 1 ranking after an epic battle at last year’s Wimbledon. And the Spaniard is unquestionably the strongest clay court player in the world. He might even be the best clay court tennis player in history.

Federer has never won a French Open Championship, losing to Nadal in the finals in the last three championship finals (2006, 2007, and 2008). Yet Federer surprised the tennis world last week by not only getting a much needed win over Nadal, but by offing him on a clay court in the Madrid Open. That had the former world no.1 in high spirits.

"Clearly I'm very happy to win," Federer said afterward the contest. "I played well. You have to against Rafa on clay. There are no easy ways to beat him. I mixed it up well, served well and was dangerous on the return game. I took all the right decisions. In the end it looked very comfortable, it was a perfect win.

However, Federer knows that Nadal has clearly had his number in recent times and beating him in Madrid doesn’t necessarily mean an automatic win at the French Open.

"It's not like a relief, I was so close to him at Melbourne and Wimbledon. But I always kept the belief that I could beat him again. That's what you need on this kind of surface, I stayed positive."

So what about Nadal? Does he think he can rebound, take yet another French Open, and continue his recent dominance of Federer? You better believe it.

"This means nothing in terms of Paris, it's a completely different surface," says Nadal. "He was better than me and deserved to win, but the court was very quick and that helped him. I played too short, made too many mistakes and he made the most of that."

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