By A. Balaji
The Rolex Monte Carlo Masters a historic 11th win this Sunday, as Rafael Nadal clinched his 11th title in the Monte Carlo clay. The tournament, also known as the Gem of the Mediterranean, is the first of three ATP World Tour Masters played on clay and is a player and fan favourite due to its magnificent location, on the shores of the mediterranean sea. The Spaniard blasted the Japanese, Kei Nishikori, in the final of the Monte Carlo Open. In 1 hour and 33 minutes, the scoreboard read 6-3, 6-2 in favour of Nadal. After his win, the King of clay beat a new personal record, by winning an outstanding 36 consecutive sets on clay courts. With this win, Nadal managed to defend his point won last year and remain at the top of the ATP rankings. Overall the week has been an amazing week for the Manacor native and there are many things we have learned from this open.
Firstly, It is clear that Rafa is on a roll and is virtually unstoppable on clay. After this win, he is now the all-time leader in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 with 31, surpassing Djokovic and ahead of Federer. He is the all-time leader of clay court titles, 54, and has been doing the unthinkable. The momentum he is on right now makes us think that he will repeat his last year's achievements. It is well possible that he once again wins all the clay-court titles, including the Roland Garros equalling his feat last year and managing to defend all his points to remain at number 1.
After this years edition, we can also believe that Nishikori is back to his high-class performance level. Nishikori was kept away for some time after his wrist injury. This was the Japanese tennis icon’s second participation in the tournament, but it looked as if he was an experienced clay – court player. On his way to the final, Nishikori beat some hot shots like Tomas Berdych, second seed Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev, returning back to the circuit
with some prominence of shining in the next two weeks.
Besides the finalists, Novak Djokovic is a player that should be commended for his efforts and it is noticeable that the Serbian is improving and getting back into form. The two time Monte Carlo champion did only reach the third round, but he did fight in all the matches he played. The Monte Carlo resident put up a fight in the third round, after bowing out to Dominic Thiem in a three-set match. Looking beyond his game, things look to get better for Novak. He is no longer feeling pain in his right elbow and has had a stable coaching situation for some weeks now. It is too early to say, but Djokovic might be at full power by the time the clay Grand Slam comes by.
Finally, it is amazing to see how young Alexander Zverev is battling up the rankings and is near to winning a Masters 1000 tournament in 2018. The German player has been one of the most consistent tours – level players right now, reaching the final stages of almost every tournament he has been in. The World no 4’s recent upbeat suits him well as he will have to defend 1250 points in the ATP 250 in Munich and the ATP 1000 in Rome. All we know that the 21-year-old is written down to the wonders in the next few years of his tennis career.
As a whole, the Monte Carlo Masters has been a memorable experience for all the fans and players. Nadal’s record-breaking triumph and the rebirth of many tennis stars produced a wonderful week of tennis which can’t wait to be back next year on the 14th of April.