Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open for a record 10th time on Sunday (30 April) Reuters

Rafael Nadal has been installed as one of the favourites to win the French Open title later in the month after he picked up his second title of the season at the Barcelona Open on Sunday (30 April). The 14-time men's singles Grand Slam champion is confident that a lower rank will not hamper him in his quest for a 10th Roland Garros title.

The clay court swing of the ATP season has always been Nadal's specialty and he became the first player in the Open era to win a single tournament on 10 occasions following his recent wins in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. The 30-year-old started the season ranked number nine in the world, and is currently at number five.

Nadal can move into the top four above current incumbent Roger Federer before the second Grand Slam of the season if he wins one of the upcoming Masters Series events in Madrid and Rome. A higher seeding in a Grand Slam helps during the draw, but Nadal is confident that he can challenge for the title irrespective of the seeding.

"In order to do it I have to win Madrid or Rome title, but I can win Roland Garros even if I won't be in the top 4," Nadal said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.

The Spaniard has already played in five finals in 2017 but lost the first three – to Federer at the Australian Open and the Miami Masters and to Sam Querrey at the Telcel Open in Acapulco. Apart from overtaking the Swiss ace in the overall rankings, Nadal can also take top spot in the race to London with a win either in Madrid or Rome.