US Open champion reveals what he finds beautiful about the game.
Paris has presented peaks and pitfalls in Rafael Nadal's glorious career.

The 12-time Roland Garros champion has ruled the red clay in Paris, but has not contested the Rolex Paris Masters final since he fell to David Nalbandian in the 2007 championship match.

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The City of Light illuminates what Nadal finds "beautiful" about the game.

The 33-year-old Spaniard says the adjustment tennis demands—including altering his game from the red clay of Roland Garros to the lower, faster bounce of Bercy's hard court—is one of the beautiful challenges the sport poses.

"You can't play a clay court game here if you want to have success here and you cannot play an indoor way on clay if you want to have success on clay," Nadal told the media after sweeping Stan Wawrinka to reach the quarterfinals. "And that's the beautiful thing about this sport, have the capacity to adapt yourself to the different conditions."

Traditionally, indoor hard courts have been the most demanding surface for Nadal to conquer. 

Nadal, who will regain the world No. 1 ranking on Monday regardless of Rolex Paris Masters results this week, owns a .681 career winning percentage with two titles indoors compared to an .848 career winning percent with 82 titles outdoors. 

Rafa Nadal
Photo credit: Christopher Levy

The 19-time Grand Slam champion is bidding to win Paris and the ATP Finals in London for the first time. He knows he cannot afford to play the waiting game to achieve that ambitious aim.

"For me personally, of course, here I need to adjust a couple of things in the way that I serving, the way that I preparing the points, that there is not much time to hit one ball here, one ball to the other side, and then wait for the right opportunity," Nadal said. "Here, you can't wait much, and I'm trying to play with the surface, not against the surface."

Photo credit: Christopher Levy