• French Open

Borg backs 'artist' Nadal for more glory

ESPN staff
May 14, 2013

Bjorn Borg has hailed Rafael Nadal as a clay court artist and is convinced the Spaniard's comeback will yield more grand slam success.

There were fears for Nadal's career when he missed the second half of 2012 with a serious knee injury. He also missed the Australian Open at the start of this year and upon his return he was still complaining of discomfort in his knee.

The former world No. 1 has been told he has to manage his schedule, but he has done so quite superbly in 2013 and his victory at the Madrid Open on Sunday was his fifth title of the year.

Borg, who held the record for Roland Garros titles until he was eclipsed by Nadal, has been hugely impressed with the 26-year-old's return to action and expects him to pick up an eighth French Open crown.

"He's incredible - he's the best player that there has ever been on clay," Borg told rolandgarros.com. "On clay though, he's still the man to beat - and that will always be the case for as long as he is playing. We saw that at Monte Carlo and that's not going to change at Roland Garros, where it's best-of-five sets out on Centre Court. He's only ever lost there once, remember.

"There's no-one better than him on this surface. People don't realise this - maybe the public has been spoilt to a certain extent. Rafa's quite simply an artist when it comes to clay."

Nadal's stunning return to action has not come as a surprise to Borg who feels the Spaniard will continue to pick up titles provided he stays free from injury.

"I'm not surprised that Nadal has managed a comeback like this," Borg said. "If he didn't have the motivation, he wouldn't have bothered coming back. He still wants to win and I reckon that he can win a few more grand slams - fingers crossed, health and fitness permitting.

"But he's a clever man and he's been on the circuit for long enough now to know what he can and can't do. I repeat, he's the man to beat in Paris, and I'm really looking forward to watching him there. You can still see his hunger for victory. He's still enjoying it and having fun."

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