World No. 1 Novak Djokovic admitted that playing Rafael Nadal on clay stands out for him as he still remembers well the 2013 Monte Carlo Masters final and a stunning win over the record 13-time French Open champion. In 2013, Nadal arrived to Monte Carlo determined to win his ninth consecutive title at the tournament.
After losing the Monte Carlo finals in 2009 and 2012, Djokovic was determined to go a step further in 2012. Djokovic and Nadal met in the 2013 Monte Carlo Masters final and Djokovic delivered a stunning performance to beat the Spaniard 6-2 7-6 (1) and win his first Monte Carlo title.
"Yeah, those matches against Rafa on clay have always stood out. I think the 2013 final I won against him in straight sets was some of the best clay court tennis I've ever played, against him, obviously, he's been winning every clay court tournament for 10 plus times.
So, of course, it is always a paramout challenge to win against him on this surface," Djokovic said, per Sportskeeda.
Djokovic aims to win his third Monte Carlo title
Djokovic, who captured his second and last Monte Carlo title in 2015, is hoping to have a strong week and win his first title of the season in Monte Carlo.
“Clay court is the surface on which I grew up in Serbia and played many years only on that surface actually. Historically it hasn't been my most successful surface, but I have had some big success on clay. [The] Roland Garros win last year is still fresh in my memory, so I try to use that as an inspiration to kick-start the clay-court season [in the] best possible way," Djokovic said.
“I understand that I probably won't be at my best at the beginning of this week. I am still testing my engine, so to say, and building my game, so it will take obviously some time, some matches to really get in the groove and find the competitive play that I really need."