Djokovic makes Nadal favourite in Monte Carlo as Wawrinka wins opener

Paola Ditto
Aprile 16, 2019

"It (winning Roland Garros) might be tougher for him than winning the Australian Open or Wimbledon, but I'm sure he can do anything if he tries 100 per cent", said Nishikori.

That was on hard courts, however, and clay is kinder to the 32-year-old Nadal's battered knees.

Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, attended Woods' Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas in 2017, while the golfing great has watched Nadal play at the US Open on multiple occasions.

"It was wonderful", Nadal said as he prepared for his Wednesday start at the Monte Carlo Masters, his first event in a month since withdrawing with knee issues at Indian Wells before a semi-final against Roger Federer. "Personally I think most of the people understood why he made a decision to skip the clay court season a year ago, and I also understand why he wants to play". He's still my idol, he's the best player in history. But I think, personally, people understood why he decided as well to skip the clay-court season past year and I also understand why he wants to play.

"I've been in comeback situations many times; I've always done well". But after winning the first set against clay-court stalwart Dominic Thiem, Djokovic could not maintain his level as the Austrian upped his, eventually losing in a three-setter in the Round of 16 after two hours and 29 minutes.

Nadal could not help but compare his own years of fitness problems to those of Woods, who has faced multiple back surgeries and other roadblocks when it looked like his career might be close to ending. "He's still there. I mean (it) obviously depends how he's feeling physically. He's the number one guy on this surface without a doubt". Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, he's won two out of three, played the final in Indian Wells, [which is] as good as it gets. Djokovic's opponent is Taro Daniel of Japan or Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has lost eight of 10 matches against Djokovic but beat him at Indian Wells.

Roger Federer may not be playing at the Monte Carlo Masters but the Swiss legend was still at the forefront of 2018 finalist Key Nishikori's thoughts on Sunday.

This week the Serb, Novak Djokovic is playing the Monte-Carlo Masters 2019 and in the doubles court he will be teaming up with his compatriot, Marko Djokovic.

"He can be a favourite to win any tournament".

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