Nadal taking one step at a time

Rafael Nadal's superb win at the Monte Carlo Masters has fans and experts alike pitting him as a favourite for the French Open, but the man himself is taking it slow.

The Spaniard won the Monte Carlo event for a record tenth time on Sunday – defeating Alberto Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets – to become the first player in the Open Era to win a event ten times.

The King of Clay is showing ominous signs of return, reaching the Australian and Miami Open finals before nothing up his first title of the year on Sunday.

But Nadal is staying grounded, revealing that the next step is the next tournament rather than the next grand slam.

"The next step is not Roland Garros, the next step is Barcelona," the 30-year-old told Sky Sports.

"I never take Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid like a preparation for any other tournament. These tournaments are so important. That's the real thing.

"Then Roland Garros arrives later. It is another important event for me."

"Next week, I am playing another very important event for me at home and I'm excited about that. Then I'm going to keep playing at home in Madrid."

Nadal won his last grand slam at the French Open in 2014.