Rafael Nadal produced his finest tennis for over a year in order to triumph at the 2016 Monte Carlo Masters Series event, winning his first Masters title for over a year.
With Novak Djokovic having been in imperious form since his victory at the first of 2016’s Grand Slam events, the Australian Open, it came as a great surprise to see him exit the tournament in the second round, only his second loss in 30 matches this year, and it was the first time he had crashed out of a tournament in the second round, since the 2013 masters.
Moreover, Djokovic hadn’t lost to a player ranked outside the worlds top 50, since 2010 when he lost to then world No. 74 Xavier Malisse.
This left the door open for a resurgent Nadal to reclaim his crown at Monte Carlo, and have many believing his chances of winning at Roland Garros again for a 10th time in 2016 very likely.
In 2015, Rafael Nadal had only made one Masters final in the entire calendar year, losing to Andy Murray at the Madrid Open. Elsewhere, He won three ATP 500 events, the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires, the Stuttgart Open, and the German Open in Hamburg.
However, he also lost as many as he won, coming in as a Runner-up at the China Open in Beijing, and losing the Swiss indoors in Basel to Roger Federer.
Rafa’s performances at the Grand Slam events in 2015 were also not up to his usual standard, He made the quarter final at the Australian, and French Open’s respectively, which was compounded with a limp second round exit at Wimbledon, and a third round exit at the US Open.
His win at Monte Carlo was the ninth time that he has triumphed there, and he was playing the style of tennis that has one him so many majors – aggressive, heavy hitting from the baseline and eventually outmuscling his opponents over long, and gruelling three set matches.
Even with Novak Djokovic leaving the tournament in the second round, Nadal still had to play against quality opponents in order to get his crown back. He produced sensational tennis to defeat Andy Murray in the semi-final, and was engaged in an epic encounter with Gael Monfils in the final, his opponent wilting under the pressure in the final set.
With the French open round the corner, and Nadal playing some fantastic tennis to win at Monte Carlo, it is highly likely that at the French Open we will witness a Nadal v Djokovic final.
Clay, has, and will always be Nadal’s best surface and with him back in form, there is no reason why he cannot go onto win at Roland Garros in May.
Bet on the 2016 French Open HERE.