When a respected tennis analyst suggested that an underarm serve could be an effective weapon in halting Rafael Nadal’s annual rampage on clay most just chuckled. The trouble is that no one seems to have come up with a better plan to throw the Spaniard off-kilter as he eyes a record-extending 11th French Open title. The 31-year-old has rarely been a hotter favourite heading into the Roland Garros fortnight. Apart from Nadal only Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic have got their hands on the Coupe des Mousquetaires since 2005 and Federer will miss the 2018 tournament while the form of Wawrinka and Djokovic is questionable. Nadal claimed his 10th French Open title in 2017, sweeping through the fortnight without losing a set, taking his career Roland Garros record to an astonishing 79-2. In Madrid recently he won his 50th consecutive set on clay before Austrian Dominic Thiem finally snapped the year-long sequence, only for Nadal to win the Rome title last weekend. The trut...

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