Tennis: Nadal prefers winning many Tour events to clinching only 1 Grand Slam a year

PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Nadal makes his long-awaited return to Grand Slam tennis tomorrow, poised to become the first man to win eight French Opens.

However, he insisted that he would rather win a string of professional tour events than rack up the Grand Slams.

The Spaniard, who goes into Roland Garros having lost just once in 53 matches on the Paris clay, was keen to play down talk that this year's trophy was his for the taking.

"The Grand Slams are not the only tournaments on the tour," said Nadal, who has won six titles in eight finals since his return to the ATP Tour, following a seven-month injury absence.

"When I go on court, whether playing in a Grand Slam or playing in a Masters 1000 (tournament), my feeling is to try my best and play with the same passion in every tournament.

"It's true that the Grand Slams are special tournaments. But for me, winning Barcelona, winning Madrid, winning Rome means a lot.

"So if you ask me to choose whether I win one Grand Slam during the whole year or win six tournaments like I already did, I will choose to win six tournaments.

"When you win a Grand Slam you are happy one week or two weeks. When you are winning tournaments you are having the chance to be happy and you feel that you are doing the right things during the rest of the time, no?"

This French Open represents Nadal's first Grand Slam event since his shock second-round exit to Czech outsider Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon last year, a defeat which sparked his lengthy absence and rehabilitation.

That time away has made the 26-year-old appreciate what time he may have left on the tour as he attempts to build on his haul of 11 Grand Slam titles.

"To talk about numbers, to talk about history, you have to analyse when somebody finishes his career, not in the middle, you know," said Nadal.

"And for sure I would like to be remembered like a good guy and a good player."