I thought I'd do a quick update on Monte Carlo as an ultimately boring tournament (due to no Federer) actually turned into a rather interesting one as Nadal was once again schooled by his master Novak Djokovic in the final.
I can't tell you guys how much I enjoy seeing Djokovic give Nadal a beat down in a championship decider, there is just something oh so sweet about it, it's almost poetic justice and Djokovic really has Nadal's number now as he's beaten him in a final at every Masters 1000 clay tournament without dropping a set in any of them.
I won't go into specifics or analysis as the match was simply won by the better and more aggressive player. Djokovic never allowed Nadal to dictate any of the rallies and was constantly the player on the offense creating multiple chances.
Nadal actually managed to break Djokovic twice in the second set but both times he was broken straight back as Djokovic just turned up the heat. It was a truly awesome game by Djokovic at 5-6 down with Nadal serving for the set, he reeled off 4 straight points to break back to love and then took the tie break 7-1 to end Nadal's 8 year reign at the Country Club.
Djokovic is just too solid these days and Nadal can't seem to hurt him anywhere on the court, the Nadal serve gets returned with consumate ease and once Novak is on the front foot in a rally it takes something special to get the rally back onto an even keel. Truly relentless.
From my point of view it was about time there was a new champion at this tournament to be quite honest and as I expected the Monte Carlo crowd were very pleased too. Djokovic lives there and he'd finally freed the fans from the shackles of Spanish moonballing oppression. Sweet!
Sadly though despite Djokovic proving he was the better man on the day we then had to contend with comments like this from Nadal:
If you are not at 100 per cent, [it] is very difficult to win against these kinds of players. Hopefully, I can play another great week in Barcelona next week [and] play some matches that will keep helping to put me in the 100 per cent physical conditioning.
Yet again a complete lack of respect from Nadal and surprise surprise he's not quite 100% after a loss. He was the first guy to win 3 titles this year, is coming into Mickey Carlo off the back of playing like a Superhuman in Indian Wells and now suddenly he's got another phantom injury.
Quite frankly it's all just a bit embarrassing.
This guy just cannot handle a loss, there are some people who say that Federer is a bad loser and of course nobody enjoys losing but this guy is just unreal.
I've paid Nadal respect on this blog plenty of times for his ability to grind out matches and his endurnace but he just comes out with so much rubbish it's unbelievable. Every tournament he plays he is quick to point out he's not the favourite and then after every loss he talks about injuries. Why do it?
Djokovic vs. Nadal Monte Carlo Highlights
Did Djokovic just put himself in pole position for the French Open?
After Djokovic's win today I think he's now the favourite for the French. This was a big big win. A couple of not so great performances in Indian Wells and Miami and then the ankle scare have been followed up by some important wins in tough matches early in the tournament and then finished with a complete schooling of Nadal on his favourite surface at his favourite tournament. This does wonders for a players confidence.
There's of course Madrid and Rome to come but I get the feeling the career slam is almost a formality now for Djokovic and I believe he has more than a good chance of taking Nadal's one last stronghold at Roland Garros.
Onto Madrid – Return of the GOAT
Anyway before all that we have Madrid to look forward to and it's only 2 weeks away. It is of course Roger's first tournament back after about 7 weeks rest, he's been training pretty hard by all accounts in various locations across Switzerland with the twins not too far away scootering around (see video below).
Hopefully the back problem is behind him now and he can play in Madrid freely. I imagine he will have watched Djokovic dismantle Nadal today and been quite content with the result.
Unfortunately this doesn't change much for him personally if he meets Nadal on clay as he'll still have to play out of his skin to pull off the win but it surely must give him plenty of motivation seeing Djoker school Nadal like that.
Federer Training in Felsberg
I'll probably do a preview post when the draw comes out for Madrid, I'm expecting a reasonable tournament from Federer, defending his title isn't a must from my point of view (it would be nice) but I think he needs to win some matches as a priority and hopefully create some stepping stones to bigger and better performances later in the year. Allez!