World's no.1 netter Rafael Nadal admitted he's not in tip-to shape heading into this year's French Open championship, as a lingering pain in his knee continues to bother him.
In an interview with Time Magazine, the Spaniard disclosed that he's still being bothered by pains in his knee. He stressed that he's still not 100 percent healthy, but promised to give his best tennis in hope of claiming his ninth Roland Garros title of his career.
"I'm still having pain a lot of days. The only thing I wish is that the pain is only minding me when I'm competing. Because I really like to enjoy the rest of the time of my life," said Nadal, who only boasts a victory in Madrid throughout the clay-court season.
Despite dealing with immense pressure of preserving his greatness on the red dirt of Paris, Nadal expressed his desire to win the tournament by beating only the bests in the business.
"I never like the easy matches. I think that good sportsmen don't like the easy wins ... At the end, if you are winning with a little more drama, it stays in your mind a lot longer than when you are winning easy, no?"
When asked about another potential rivalry match against Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, the Mallorcan Bull said he embraced every moment he's up against his rivals, no matter how grueling these are.
"It's difficult to understand for somebody who is not on the court. I don't know if the word is enjoy. But in some way that feeling is great when you are there and are playing well, the opponent is one of the best in the world, you are competing for important things and you are fighting and you resist a little bit more."
"You need to find another solution, you need to put one more ball in play, with the right determination in that point because it's the point that can change the dynamic of the match. So all these things, it's difficult to say you're enjoying, but it's, in some way, yes, I will say-I appreciate what's going on in that moment.
"Because all my career, all my life, I work hard to be there, and today you feel there, you are healthy, you are able to run, you are able to fight, you are able to play for something that was a dream for you since you were a kid. You appreciate the moment a lot."
The 27-year old Nadal is set to kick start his French Open campaign against Robby Ginepri of the United States in the first round.