Robin Soderling believes tennis break ‘may even help prolong’ Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s careers

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Robin Soderling says Rafael Nadal will still be the favourite to win the French Open despite its switch to September while he also believes the current tennis hiatus could help prolong the Spaniard as well as Roger Federer’s careers.

Roland Garros 2020 was initially scheduled to take place from May 24 to June 7, but with tennis on an enforced break until July 13, the French Tennis Federation moved the tournament to September 20 to October 4.

It means the clay-court Grand Slam will start only one week after the conclusion of the US Open, which might leave a lot of players undercooked for the red dirt.

Soderling, who was the first man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros when he defeated the Spaniard in 2009, says Nadal will still be the player to beat and feels the hiatus will help the 12-time French Open winner as well as Federer.

“Of course it’s going to be a completely different tournament but Rafa on clay – it doesn’t matter if it’s in June or September – for me, if he’s healthy, he’s still going to be the favourite,” he told Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza.

“There are a couple of players who I actually feel can win the French Open. I think Thiem and Djokovic can do really well on clay but it’s just amazing to see Rafa as the favourite again.

“I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since I beat him at Roland Garros, but it just shows you how good he has been for so long. He won his first French Open title in 2005 and he’s still the favourite which is amazing.

“If this break is not going to be too long, it will help Rafa and Roger (Federer) recover. It may even help prolong their careers.”

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