Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the favorites to reach the final at the last week's Monte Carlo Masters 1000 event. Instead of that, they both failed to reach the semi-final, experiencing their worst joined performance since the ATP Finals 2019 when they couldn't pass the round-robin stage.
The 11-time winner Rafael Nadal scored commanding victories against Federico Delbonis and Grigor Dimitrov to reach the quarter-final, hoping for more of the same against Andrey Rublev. Facing the Russian for the third time, Nadal suffered a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 loss, failing to win the Monte Carlo title for the second time in a row.
The Spaniard couldn't follow the pace of his younger opponent, making too many mistakes with his backhand and standing no chance in sets one and three. Speaking about his friend and rival, Djokovic said that he and Nadal can't win every tournament and that it is normal to see the younger players doing their best to beat them.
Novak is sure that Rafa will bounce back in the rest of the season and fight for the notable titles, like many times before.
Novak Djokovic is confident that Rafael Nadal will bounce back on clay this spring.
"We probably made a lot of people think that we can play perfect tennis every single week for the rest of our lives, but that's not possible.
I don't think there is anything strange; it's just a bad week. If our opponents have a very good day, they can beat us; simple as that. I think Rafa, myself and Roger have been very successful and dominant in the past 15 years or more.
You have a new generation of tennis players coming up, and we have to adapt ourselves. We have to understand how to improve, get better, and adjust our game to this new group of players who are challenging us for the world's top spots and the world's biggest trophies.
I'm not too concerned, especially when it comes to Rafa on clay. I don't think one or two matches or two weeks will change how he plays on clay or upcoming tournaments. But obviously, it's interesting for our sport to see us losing to some new players, making things a bit more interesting for tennis fans.
Obviously, we don't want to lose; I think we both want to keep that level of performance and quality of tennis high for as long as we possibly can," Novak Djokovic said.