Nadal prowls

ROME - Rafael Nadal will start his bid for a fifth Rome Masters title this week, secure in the knowledge that he is back to his best and already dreaming of reclaiming his French Open crown.

The 23-year-old who has already won 37 tour titles has been in a rut but his confidence and form are back after a long period of injury .

"Rome is one of my favourite tournaments alongside Barcelona and Monte Carlo and not just because it's on clay and because I've been successful over the years, but also for the atmosphere and the fans who are always warm and friendly," he told Saturday's edition of the Italian Sports Week magazine.

World number two Novak Djokovic, the runner-up last year and champion the year before, will begin against France's Jeremy Chardy or Serbian compatriot Janko Tipsarevic. - AFP