Monte Carlo Masters-Wary Nadal

Rafael Nadal

It is no doubt that the Spaniard will be favourite to win in Monte-Carlo as he eyes winning the event for the 11th time in his Tennis career.

The 36-year-old swiss' decision to stay out of the clay season last year obviously paid off as he went on to Wimbledon and bagged the trophy and an extra title. I always feel comfortable here.

"I played only with the shot clock in IPTL and it was only 20 seconds". When the time comes to play, I need to be at my best. Earlier this month, he stopped working with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek - the latest in a series of coaching changes for the 12-time major champion.

"After two years, finally I can play without pain", added Djokovic.

If Nadal is to extend his record tally of Monte Carlo crowns, he will have to do it the hard way after being handed a difficult draw.

Novak Djokovic started his clay-court season with a flawless straight-sets victory over compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Yet another monstrous forehand aided him in saving a break point, although this time it just wasn't meant to be, with the world number 40 prevailing in a marathon game which lasted 14 points to lead by a set and a break.

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Rafael Nadal will play his first match since the Australian Open, if you don't count the Davis Cup action.

When the 30-year-old Serb deposed Donald Young in the first round at the Australian Open, it was with his usual flourishes that he did so: the deep groundstrokes and plays at the net that have always been his trademark style.

Speaking about the consequences of the controversial addition to the game, Nadal said ahead of his Monte Carlo title defence: "For me it's not the ideal thing but if the sport is moving that way or they want to move that way, the only thing I can do is accept it and play". The more free points, the better chance Bedene has of pulling off a rather big upset.

The shot clock was trialled during US Open qualifying a year ago, and was also used at the 2017 NextGen Finals in Milan and the exhibition International Premier Tennis League.

Along the same lines, German star Alexander Zverev was also not too anxious about the new potential system, claiming that he already is one of the quickest people on tour.

Monte Carlo Masters - the season's first clay-court Masters 1000 tournament - kicked off Sunday, April 15, with top tennis stars from across the globe in French city Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

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