Johannesburg: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is reportedly continuing his Roland Garros preparations as he heads into the Rome Masters, an event where he has been champion for the last five years, for a final major tune-up.
The Spaniard, who won the Madrid title after Japan's Kei Nishikori quit trailing 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 with back pain on Sunday, will reportedly be pleased to head to Italy as a winner.
According to Sport24, Nadal, who goes to the Foro Italico with a yearning to claim a ninth trophy at the French Open starting May 25, begins play in Rome either against Frenchman Gilles Simon or Filippo Volandri.
Nadal, who reportedly lost the quarterfinals on his favoured clay this spring in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, will reportedly begin his 32nd week in a row at number one and 134th overall given his Madrid success.
Nadal said that he is competing for tournaments and feels well physically, adding that he is feeling better and better physically, better than a year ago.
The Spaniard will be making his 10th straight Rome appearance, winning a record seven titles from eight finals for a 41-2 career record at the venue, the report added.