The King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, begins yet another clay season Wednesday in Monte Carlo where the Spaniard seeks an unprecedented 11th title. In his first tour match on clay since winning a 10th French Open last year, Nadal will meet German Aljaz Bedene.
“It’s been a love story between me and this event, the people who run the tournament,” said Nadal who is 64-3 lifetime at the event, which includes a 46-match win streak.
“I feel good and I am practicing well. I think I am playing with the right intensity and I have a couple of days left until my first match. I haven’t competed enough to know 100% that I will be at my best, but the feelings are good… I’ve played some good sets and that helps me.
“I love this event and the weather has been good. Being in Monte-Carlo always gives me the best feelings possible and good memories. When the time comes to play, I need to be at my best. This is my first event of the year, that I hope I can finish and I am excited about that… I always try to be very focused at the beginning of the tournament on what I’m doing. Every match I win is very important.”
Nadal also updated the press on what he did while nursing that hip injury.
“If you’re injured and you’re able to do different things, play golf and different sports, it distracts you. But with this injury I couldn’t do anything – no physical work and every movement I did, it affected the injury. I don’t like not doing anything, so I spent time in the offices of the Rafael Nadal Academy checking different areas. I couldn’t be on the court though as I couldn’t move. I am not a fan of watching a lot of TV, so I also spent time with friends and went out on the boat for a couple of days.”
Also in action is a tasty showdown between Novak Djokovic and Borna Coric. Coric has really come on in the last month with Indian Wells semi and a Miami quarter, while Djokovic floundered. But the Serb, a 2-time Monte Carlo champion, won their only prior meeting.
Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic are also on court.
On Tuesday, the second round began with five matches, four of them decided in three sets. Miami finalist Alexander Zverev edged Gilles Muller 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, Grigor Dimitrov took out Pierre-Hugues Herber 6-4 in the third, Lucas Pouille fell to Mischa Zverev 7-6 in the final set and in the match of the day, Dominic Thiem saved a match point to deny Andrey Rublev 5-7, 7-5, 7-5.
The Austrian Thiem led 4-1 in the third before Rublev won four straight games and held the match on his racquet serving 5-4, 40-30.
In the first round play, Fabio Fognini, Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez were all winners. Diego Schwartzman overcame a first set bagel to earn his first career win over countryman Guido Pella.
WEDNESDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III Starts At 11:00 Am
2nd Rd Daniil Medvedev VS Kei Nishikori
2nd Rd 9 Novak Djokovic VS Borna Coric
2nd Rd 1 Rafael Nadal VS Aljaz Bedene
2nd Rd Fernando Verdasco VS 2 Marin Cilic
COURT DES PRINCES Starts At 11:00 Am
2nd Rd Karen Khachanov VS (WC) Gilles Simon
2nd Rd 13 Fabio Fognini VS Jan-Lennard Struff
2nd Rd Richard Gasquet VS -10 Diego Schwartzman
2nd Rd 14 Milos Raonic VS (Q) Marco Cecchinato
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