Tennis champions and rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be heading into the most critical part of the tennis calendar -- the clay to grass transition -- riding strong momentum for different reasons.

Nadal re-established himself as the man to beat on clay after bagging three of the four clay court tournaments in the lead up to Roland Garros: the Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open and Madrid Masters. He had a chance to complete a quartet of clay court trophies, but unfortunately, he ran out of gas at the Italian Open last week.

Federer, on the other hand, officially shut down any possibility of playing on clay after announcing his withdrawal from the French Open championships.

Despite his Roland Garros snub, the Swiss Maestro will still be one of the heavy favorites in the grass season because of his terrific 19-1 record to start the year. Federer also captured three trophies this year: the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami Masters. In addition, he beat Nadal on three separate occasions this year.

The pressure is on for Rafa

In an interview with El Espanol, the 30-year old Nadal admitted that his recent success on the court has somewhat lessened the pressure on his shoulder. Its been a while since the tennis world saw Nadal this dominant on clay, so winning three marquee tournaments should boost his confidence heading into Paris.

“No one won four titles before Roland Garros, or at least I never did it.” Nadal said of his early round exit in Rome, per El Espanol.

“Then things can go well or bad, but I think I am ready to play well at the Roland Garros. I know I have been working well for many months and now it comes the moment to do the last effort.”

Nadal, who is gunning for a 10th French Open crown, also believes the loss to Dominic Thiem in Italy has helped him better prepare for the tough grind at Roland Garros.

He’s aware that he had been playing non-stop since the start of the season, so the loss turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him.

Federer focuses on Wimbledon gold

As for Federer, the main focus for him is to bag another Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon. At this point in his career, it’s clear as crystal that he no longer guns for the top spot in the world rankings.

He plays for the sake of Grand Slams. No one better understands Federer’s mindset than his former rival, Andy Roddick, who called the decision to skip the French Open smart. The Swiss has already hoisted the Wimbledon crown seven times, but it has been five years since he won arguably the most prestigious trophy of all the Grand Slam crowns.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!