French Open 2012: Rafael Nadal Chases History

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 29: Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during his men's singles first round match against Simone Bolelli of Italy during day 3 of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 29, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Another French Open title would give Rafael Nadal 11 Grand Slam wins, five short of Roger Federer's record of 16.

At some point in the careers of great players, their opponents become less of a factor than the history they're chasing. In the case of Rafael Nadal, he has reached that moment. Though he still approaches each tournament with the same mind-set as he always has, the record books are now the only thing left for him to conquer.

The French Open is where Nadal has made his name and if he were to win this year's title, he would hold the record for most career French Open titles with seven, breaking the tie he's currently in with Bjorn Borg. He would also tie Borg for fourth on the all-time Grand Slam titles list with 11. ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon wrote more about it.

"I am coming here with [the same] motivation of every year," Nadal told reporters ahead of the tournament. "I [am] not going to be more motivated because I have six and can win seven. And I was not more motivated when I arrived here in 2005 than today. I was not more motivated in 2010 [than] when I lost in 2009. The motivation is always the same. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. That's the sport."

For more on the French Open, check out SB Nation's dedicated tennis hub.

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