Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Nadal smitten in Monte Carlo

Rafael Nadal GETTYRafael Nadal is raring to go at the Monte Carlo Masters
Shannon Reynolds | 16 April, 2018, 16:00

London [U.K], April 16 (ANI): Taking a sly dig at his oldrival Roger Federer, world number one Rafael Nadal said the former avoids facing him on clay after the Swiss star chose to skip the clay court season for a second-straight year.

Despite that defeat in Melbourne, the Spaniard backed up his "King of Clay" nickname by winning his 10th titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros.

Nadal will be chiefly concerned with arriving in Paris in tip-top shape but also in the back of his mind is the fact that his number one ranking is hanging by a thread.

After one of the flattest months in the history of the ATP tour, world No1 Rafael Nadal made a welcome return to the stage in Monte Carlo on Sunday, and immediately livened things up with a sly dig at his oldrival Roger Federer.

"It depends on what I want to do, how to avoid the injury, what my head tells me to do", he had said adding that whether he plays or not on the ground this season "does not depend on the presence or absence of Rafa (Nadal) and Novak (Djokovic)".

'He says he will love to play against me again in best-of-five sets on clay, ' Nadal smiled.

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The glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo is the setting for this week's action on the ATP Tour, with a prize fund of nearly €5m a suitable reward for the players good enough to make the 56-man draw. "I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets", Nadal said ahead of the start of the claycourt season.

"It's hopefully going to be my first event of the year that I can finish".

With Nadal such a dominant favourite - his clay data is superb, but he's not been fully fit this year in reality following retirement in the Australian Open quarter-final - no other player is in single-digit numbers for the title, which gives us some scope for trading or each-way value. "And I'm excited about that".

The 16-time Grand Slam champion is bidding for an incredible 11th title in Monaco and his third in a row, but knows that anything less than that would see him lose the No.1 spot to the absent Federer. "Every match I win is very important", Nadal said, as quoted by ATP's official website. "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". I felt it again.

'I want Federer to play in Madrid again before he retires, ' Lopez said.

'The second one was frustrating because I'd done everything the right way to recover.

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