Andy Murray expects Rafael Nadal to repeat six-time French Open success

Andy Murray
Murray's backing: Scot talks up Nadal's chances in French Open.© SNS Group

Andy Murray has tipped Rafael Nadal for further success at Roland Garros.

Nadal shares the record of six French Open titles with Bjorn Borg and a seventh would see him match Pete Sampras' achievement at Wimbledon, the American winning his final SW19 crown in 2000.

The 25-year-old Spaniard's record in Paris is remarkable, with his only loss coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 when his knee problems were at their worst.

Murray, a big admirer of Nadal, expects the Majorcan to surpass that mark, and he said: "I think the fact that he started at such a young age is what's most impressive.

"He won it when he had just turned 19. It's obviously still going as well. So I'm sure he'll have more great runs here. I'm sure he'll win the event a few more times probably before he finishes."

Murray, who is bidding to reach a sixth consecutive grand slam semi-final, will begin his French Open campaign against Japan's Tatsuma Ito tomorrow.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer open their tournaments today. Djokovic, who is bidding to land his fourth successive grand slam crown, meets Italian Potito Starace while Federer, the only man to beat the Serbian in the majors in 2011, takes on German Tobias Kamke.

Yesterday's action was dominated by another miserable Paris outing for Andy Roddick. Roddick described his movement on the red clay as "horrendous" as the former world number one made an opening-day exit, losing 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-2 to Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

The injury-plagued 26th seed refused to blame a lack of fitness for his demise even though he appeared to hurt a leg at the start of the second set.

"I'm fine (but) I wasn't playing really well," he said. “I moved just horrendously out there. My first step is just so bad on this stuff (the clay). I feel like I'm always shuffling or hopping or not stopping or something. I feel like I get exposed too easily. I feel like I'm not set on most shots. If you're not set, it's tough to get much of a flow going. When you don't have much of a flow going, it lends itself to sporadic play. It all adds up."

Fifth-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro progressed but both men were taken to fourth sets. Home favourite Tsonga withstood a first set barrage from Andrey Kuznetsov before coming through 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-4, while Del Potro struggled with a knee injury on his way to a 6-2 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-1 defeat of veteran Spaniard Albert Montanes.

On the women's side, seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams survived a first round scare by beating 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea 4-6 6-1 6-3. Sixth seed Samantha Stosur also made untroubled progress into round two with a straight-sets win over Great Britain's Elena Baltacha. World number one Victoria Azarenka plays Alberta Brianti today while defending champion Li Na faces a tricky opening encounter against Sorana Cirstea.

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