'How I beat Rafa' ... Demon dreams of telling his kids

What a story it may turn out to be should Rafa Nadal's last dance on Court Philippe Chatrier actually turn out to be his penultimate Tango in Paris.

When the king of clay enters his Chatrier realm one more time - perhaps one last time - to tackle Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, it could be an 'I was there' moment, a tennis tale for the ages.

Alternatively, it could be Rafa's big tease - as he's just turned up at his supposed farewell bash and suggested, actually, there could be more Parisian parties to come after all.

Either way, with Rafa fever in the air, Alex de Minaur, enchanted like the rest of the sport about the prospect of what may unfold on Monday, reckons he has his own epic story to tell his kids and grandkids one day about the great Rafa.

And it's a tale which will only get taller as the years roll by.

"Yes, I can tell my kids one day that I managed to beat Rafa. On clay," de Minaur told AAP.

Nadal was decidedly upbeat in his pre-tournament news conference. (EPA PHOTO)

But, Alex, will that also include the rather significant caveats about this having been a rusty, injury-hit, last-legs 37-year-old version of Rafa who'd hardly hit a competitive ball in 18 months?

"Obviously, there's a bit of an asterisk around it - but as time goes by, I'll tell my grandkids I beat him in full flight," chuckled de Minaur.

"We can spare them the whole details of how it wasn't the real Rafa. We won't have to spill the whole details.

"Yeah, it's one of those stories I'll have for ever - very happy with that."

De Minaur's triumph over Nadal in Barcelona was his second this year, but it's a measure of the competitive fire that still burns within the rusty Spaniard that he did gain revenge for Barcelona over the Aussie a week later in Madrid.

Which might not feature in Demon's version, either.

Yet should it be Nadal's last Roland Garros, de Minaur just wanted to echo what the rest of tennis feels about him.

"It's been a little bit of a love story with Rafa and Roland Garros ever since they first met," he said.

"It's been surreal what he's been able to achieve - not just in the world of tennis, but of course, especially here in Roland Garros. Fourteen titles; he's achieved a feat I don't think will ever be broken or anyone will even get close to.

"He's pretty special. Everyone will have their eyes glued to the TV watching that match. It's going to be very exciting, and he's going to be thoroughly missed by all of the tour."

But wait.

There was something about Nadal's demeanour in his pre-tournament conference which suggested something amazing could be stirring.

"I'm feeling better ... In my mind is do something different and play much better and give myself a chance to play competitive.there.

"All these questions that I understand you are making to me, I am asking to myself, too. But the answer gonna be on Monday, no?"

And if the man who's won 112 French Open matches and lost just three does defeat an on-song Zverev, fresh from his Italian Open triumph, wouldn't that just be his most fanciful triumph of all?

Mention to de Minaur that he and Nadal could meet in the quarter-finals, the Aussie No.1 just laughed: "Okay, well, let's not get too ahead of ourselves."

But wouldn't that be an even better fireside tale for the grandkids?