Watch: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic - Monte Carlo Rivalry

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played four matches in Monte Carlo

by Jovica Ilic
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Watch: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic - Monte Carlo Rivalry
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have engaged in a staggering 59 encounters on the ATP Tour, creating the most frequent rivalry in the Open era. Four battles came at the Monte Carlo Masters between 2009 and 2015, with two great rivals scoring two wins each.

They embraced some incredible points; you can enjoy them in the video below. We might see their next duel in the Principality next week if Nadal decides to play, with Djokovic already training at one of his favorite stops on the calendar.

Rafa is the most successful player in Monte Carlo, winning 11 titles within 14 years between 2005 and 2018! However, Novak beat him two times within three years and lifted two trophies, adding his name to the list of tournament legends.

Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2015© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Nadal and Djokovic fought in the 2009 Monte Carlo final, with the Serb challenging the king of clay. The defending champion prevailed 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 after two hours and 43 minutes, working hard and forcing Novak to settle with the runner-up prize.

Rafa beat Novak for the 12th time in 16 duels, remaining perfect on clay after the seventh win over a great rival. Djokovic took only four games in sets one and three. Still, he made Nadal run for his money, extending the opener to nearly an hour and fighting hard in the decider despite running out of steam.

Rafa saved six out of 11 break points and grabbed seven return games from 14 opportunities, staying focused after the second set and extending his Monte Carlo winning streak. Djokovic fought well against Nadal on clay in Hamburg and Paris a year ago and again in the opening two sets in the Davis Cup ahead of Monte Carlo.

The Serb was ready for more in the Principality, challenging the Spaniard for almost an hour in the opener and overpowering him in set number two. Novak could not keep that pace in the decider, falling physically and finishing runner-up.

Djokovic followed Nadal's level in the most extended rallies, presenting his incredible court coverage and groundstrokes. Rafa built the advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, taming his strokes more efficiently and lifting his fifth Monte Carlo trophy.

Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2013© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are 2-2 in Monte Carlo.

Three years later, two rivals met in another Monte Carlo final, and Nadal scored a convincing 6-3, 6-1 win in an hour and 19 minutes, celebrating his eighth consecutive crown in the Principality!

Rafa ousted Novak for the 17th time in 31 matches and delivered a notable win, beating his great rival for the first time since the 2010 ATP Finals and seven straight losses! The Serb lost his grandfather a couple of days earlier, reaching the final but playing miles below his best.

Nadal clinched 22 points more than Djokovic in his most dominant win over the Serb since Rome 2007. The Spaniard played superbly behind the initial shot, losing ten points in eight service games and experiencing one break.

Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2012© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic needed more to remain competitive, giving away 54% of the points in his games and suffering five breaks from eight chances offered to his opponent.

Rafa tamed his strokes nicely, hitting 15 winners and ten unforced errors. Novak stayed in touch in the most advanced rallies, and Rafa forged the win in the shortest ones, serving better and attacking first. Nadal claimed the opener 6-3 after 43 minutes and took charge in the second set to emerge at the top and lift the trophy.

A year later, Djokovic and Nadal met in their third Monte Carlo final. This time, the Serb played better and scored a 6-2, 7-6 triumph in an hour and 52 minutes, lifting his first Monte Carlo trophy and ending the Spaniard's streak of 46 consecutive victories in the Principality!

Djokovic claimed his fourth clay-court Masters 1000, beating Nadal in three of them and becoming the first player to achieve that. Novak toppled Rafa after three straight losses, dominating the opener and prevailing in the second set to notch his third win over the king of clay on his beloved surface.

Djokovic dropped serve three times and responded nicely on the return, taking over half of the points in Nadal's games and turning them into five breaks from 12 chances. Unlike a year ago, the Serb tamed his strokes nicely and hit more winners than unforced errors.

Novak had the upper hand in the more extended rallies, overpowering the defending champion and lifting his first trophy in the Principality. The second came two years later, and Rafa was on Novak's path again.

Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2009© Michael Steele / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Two great rivals fought in the semi-final, and Djokovic scored a 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 38 minutes, leveling his Monte Carlo score against Nadal to 2-2.

Novak celebrated his 20th win over Rafa, becoming the first player to achieve that. The Serb served at 75% and lost 18 points in nine service games, getting broken once and keeping the pressure on the Spaniard. It was not Nadal's season, and he could not stay in touch with a mighty opponent.

Rafa lost 45% of the points in his games, standing powerless and getting broken four times from ten chances offered to Novak. They stayed in touch in the mid-range and most advanced rallies, and Novak earned the win after forging a 39-23 lead in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes.

The battle was on in the seventh game of each set. Djokovic saved a break point at 3-3 in the opener and held after four deuces. The Serb survived the Spaniard's five game points at 3-3 in the second set, delivering a break and bringing the victory home.

Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic Monte Carlo
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