NADAL’S WINNING RUN,
MONTE CARLO MASTERS
MONACO — For the first time in nine years, the Monte Carlo Masters trophy belongs to someone other than Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard’s record reign at the clay-court tournament finally ended Sunday as he lost 6-2, 7-6 (1) to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the final.
Nadal won his 46 previous matches and the last eight titles at Monte Carlo — beating Djokovic in last year’s final — and his last defeat here was against Guillermo Coria 10 years ago. Nadal missed the 2004 tournament through injury before winning his first Monte Carlo title the following year.
Nadal then beat Roger Federer in the next three finals. His eight straight titles were an ATP record for one tournament.
“I cannot be happier than I am in this moment knowing what I’ve been through the whole week, actually two weeks,” said Djokovic, who twisted his ankle two weeks ago playing for Serbia against the United States. “If somebody told me 10 days ago I’d be winning the trophy, I wouldn’t think it’s so realistic, to be honest.”
Djokovic faced Nadal for the 16th time in a championship decider, and they are now 8-8 in finals. The Spaniard had won the previous three, including the French Open final last year.
“I think he played a little bit better than me, especially in the first set,” Nadal said. “I felt that I was playing really well the second set and I was having more chances than him.”
“I need a little bit more physical performance,” he said. “That’s the real thing, to play all those points with the same intensity.”
With the French Open five weeks away,
“Of course, I want to win Roland Garros,” Nadal said. “That’s no secret. But I need to keep on having the right positive mindset.”
Image and text credits : http://www.tsn.ca/tennis/story/?id=419548