Rafael Nadal is back! Nadal showed again why he is the undisputed King of Clay by crushing nemesis Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 earlier today to get his snowman, his eight straight Monte Carlo Masters title.
Nadal, who hadn’t looked his sharpest up the final, saved his best for last playing a near flawless match against Djokovic. And the victory was huge. Nadal had lost seven straight Djokovic, and even though the Serb was not anywhere near his best today, it’s got to help Rafa’s confidence. He absolutely had to have this win and he got it.
“After seven times (Novak), thank you for this one,” Nadal joked on court.
“I have always felt unbelievable here,” said Nadal. “It’s unbelievable to win this historic tournament eight times, I always feel great when I come here.”
Rafa served well and excelled off the ground, both forehand and backhand. He was all business. No mistakes. Meanwhile it was just an off day for Djokovic who really struggled in all facets of his game, even footwork, as he sprayed errors all around the court in the breezy conditions.
The numbers for Nadal are staggering. He’s won 42 straight matches in Monaco, 8 straight titles and he collects a 20th Masters trophy. He’s also won his last 15 on clay and last nine matches overall since losing to Roger Federer at Indian Wells. And that’s clay title No. 33 and No. 47 overall, his first since the French Open.
For Djokovic, with his grandfather’s passing it’s been a tough, emotional week. And I don’t think this loss will linger. Djokovic did well just to get to final and as I thought he was just tapped today. Can you blame him?
“I’m sorry for my performance today, Rafa played well and deserved to win today,” said Djokovic.
Novak came into the event not playing at the level he was a year ago, and he leaves still searching for that peak 2011 form. But Novak now has a full month to get right for his real goal of the French Open and we know he has the game and the toughness for the near impossible challenge of beating Nadal on the clay. And he may just get that rematch before then.
For Nadal, he broke the Djokovic streak, got his title and he’s back on his favorite surface. Life is good again and with Barcelona served up on platter this upcoming week, he’ll be sky high.
And knee injury? What knee injury? Winning heals all wounds,right? Rafa won Monte Carlo without losing a set or even facing a set point. No one was even clsoe. Once again the song remains the same, Nadal rules on the clay. And what a song it is.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Rafael Nadal: “To start the clay-court season winning here is an amazing feeling. This tournament is very special for me. My level of tennis was high during the last four matches, since the second round.”
On ending a seven-match final losing streak to Djokovic: “It’s very important to break that situation. It’s important to win a tournament another time. Especially [this] tournament. [Breaking] that situation [and] winning a Masters 1000, one of my favourites, [makes] everything perfect today.”
Novak Djokovic: “He took his opportunities [in the] first set and made a break, and that’s it. I didn’t make him play at all. I just was out there trying to put the ball in the court.”
On the passing of his grandfather: “It’s been a tough week, not just for me but for everybody in my family. We’re going through this together. In the end, I played the final and I’m really happy for that.”
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