Nadal: Federer a big loss at French Open


Rafael Nadal views the absence of Roger Federer at the French Open as "very negative" as the Spaniard targets a 10th title at Roland Garros.

Legendary Swiss Federer withdrew from the clay-court grand slam on Thursday due to a back injury, ending his run of competing in 65 consecutive slams.

Nadal, who was drawn to face Sam Groth in the first round and could face Novak Djokovic at the semi-final stage, is disappointed that his old foe is unable to play at Roland Garros.

He said: "I think for me it is not changing much [without Federer]. But I understand that for the fans, for the tournament, for the world of tennis in general it is very negative news.

"But the same happened with Madrid and with Indian Wells, Miami, with Dubai. Every tournament that a big player like him is not able to play is negative news for the world of tennis."

Nadal has failed to add to his impressive tally of 14 slam victories since winning in Paris two years ago, but the 29-year-old believes he is in good shape following triumphs at Monte Carlo and in Barcelona last month.

"I am well into 2016 now, and I have played a few good events in a row," said the man dubbed 'King of Clay'.

"So I hope to continue playing well here. That's all I can say. That's all my goal is: keep going the same way that I am playing, and if it's possible to play even a little bit better and better.

"But I'm happy the way I have played since Indian Wells - a lot of tournaments in a row playing well. I just need keep going."