The body has to adapt from sliding into shots on the red dirt to encounter a much lower, zipping ball on the green turf. In a unique tangent of the Tours, players get just four to five weeks to find their feet on the grass.
Gone are the days of ‘clay specialists’ skipping the grass campaign. In fact, in 2015 Wimbledon eased the scheduling conundrum by edging back a week in the calendar.
Adjusting games to thrive on clay then grass has always been an arduous battle of stamina and versatility, as put by Nadal.
''The tough thing today is mentally and physically you play a long clay-court season. Not only the clay-court season. You are coming from an American hard-court season,” stated the world No.1. “So one month in America, then one month and a half in Europe, playing on clay. Then mentally if you are able to win Roland Garros, you already played a lot of time at your top, mentally and physically.''
Basically, Rafa recalls the unique triumph as draining. ''But the best players are able to do it very well, the transition,'' declared the 32-year-old.
The Spaniard has been there and done it – sliding to silverware on Court Philippe-Chatrier, before implementing his relentless game on balls on a completely different trajectory. The main area of contention is whether Nadal has fully recovered from his gruelling clay campaign.