So finally after a long drought Nadal has won a big title again, defeating Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 in the final. In doing so he tied Djokovic on 28 Masters titles after Djokovic surpassed him in Miami. It was also Nadal’s 9th Monte Carlo title.
If Nadal was ever going to find form again it was going to be during the clay court season. But I wouldn’t get too excited just yet if I was a Nadal fan. Nadal didn’t have to face Djokovic after all and winning one Masters doesn’t mean he is officially back.
But at least he seems to be playing his best tennis since the 2014 clay season. You always kind of figured he’d eventually win something noteworthy again and that it would be on clay. The days of winning anything big off of clay seem to be long gone.
We will see how it goes from here. If he really wants to prove that he is back he needs to win more clay events. Madrid will be interesting when Djokovic is back. He will have something to prove as well after losing his first match in Monte Carlo.
And Madrid won’t be the easiest place to do that with that fanatical crowd. So that will already be Djokovic’s first test of the clay season. It will be important for him to send a message that this is his year in the clay court season.
As I watched some of the tennis today I noticed how Monfils failed to end the points against Nadal when he really should have. Djokovic is the only guy who can really do that against Nadal on clay. Nadal’s endless retrieving on clay is frustrating to watch so I don’t even bother much unless he faces Djokovic.
To get back to Madrid, it is high altitude which is something that will favor Djokovic against the likes of Nadal at least. It will be easier to end points. In my last post, I also made the mistake of saying Djokovic had two weeks of rest.
Madrid only starts in two weeks from now so he will have more rest which is a great thing I think. I had it wrong because I thought Madrid starts a week earlier, and actually that wouldn’t have given Djokovic that much time to recover.
He plays an awful lot of tennis and he can really use this time off to recharge and get ready for an important clay court season for him. In the meantime, Nadal will play Barcelona which he could probably win as well.
I see Fogini is in his quarter of the draw who has given Nadal some tough times of late so that could already get interesting.