Nadal's next opponent Goffin says facing him is the ultimate challenge

Nadal's next opponent Goffin says facing him is the ultimate challenge

The Spaniard has won all three of their encounters on clay, though that is also the Belgian's favorite surface.

David Goffin is aware that his third-round match at the French Open will be no ordinary occasion.

The 28-year-old Belgian plays the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, who has won the event 11 times.

"It's probably the ultimate challenge," Goffin told press in French. "It's the only tournament where you have to play and win three sets on clay. I have got to play with my qualities -- find the angles, and run, which I'll have to do. 

"And when he plays his game, it becomes very complicated."

Nadal has won all three of their encounters on clay, though that is also Goffin's favorite surface. Goffin defeated Nadal at the 2017 ATP Tour Finals indoors, when he also reached his career-high of No. 7 in the rankings.

Still, the slightly-built but talented Goffin is looking forward to the meeting, saying, "It's the type of match you always want to play, on a big court. I hope there'll be a good atmosphere."

Goffin has had a poor season, falling in the first round of almost half his tournaments coming into the French Open, and changed coaches following the Australian Open. He is now working with Thomas Johansson.

But Nadal is not approaching his opponent lightly despite Goffin's recent problems.

"He has all the shots in tennis. He's had a fantastic career," said Nadal. "He can run. He finds great angles. To be honest, it's a big challenge for the third round."

Goffin is No. 29 in the rankings.