Rafael Nadal will enter the pantheon of sporting greats should he claim a record 10th French Open title at Roland Garros, according to Tim Henman. The Spaniard is chasing 'La Decima' in Paris - a tournament he has dominated since his maiden triumph in 2005.
The 30-year-old has won nine titles on the French dirt, losing just three matches in the tournament's history during that period to enhance his status as the best player ever to grace a clay court. In the absence of Roger Federer and amid Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic's struggles, Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to further carve his name into tennis history.
Nadal has enjoyed a stunning clay-court season, winning titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid; a run of form which has followed a string of injuries. Having overcome Robin Haase in round two, Nadal faces Nikoloz Basilashvili for a place in the second week in the French capital and former British number one Henman believes greatness beckons for the world number four.
"It would be such an incredible achievement by such an incredible player," Henman told BBC Sport. "You can't even fathom it. A lot of people don't win 10 tournaments, let alone 10 Grand Slams at one venue.
"It is the biggest challenge in the game to beat Nadal over five sets on clay in Paris. It would be one of the biggest achievements in tennis and one of the biggest in any sport. To have been so dominant at one of the biggest events in our sport is just incredible."
Djokovic also cruised into the third round after defeating Joao Sousa in three sets to book a last-32 clash with Argentine Diego Schwartzman. The Serbian has suffered a difficult last 12 months but having enlisted Andre Agassi as his new coach Henman sees a light at the end of the tunnel for the defending champion.
"Agassi is massively experienced and went through a lot of highs and lows," Henman added. "He is not going to teach Djokovic to hit new shots but can help him use his attributes to the best of his ability. Agassi's experience and a new voice can certainly help. It can sometimes be someone saying the same thing but in a different fashion."