After a remarkable seven titles in 2013, Rafael Nadal began to lose ground the following season. Nadal suffered a setback at the Australian Open and failed to lift the trophy in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. Rafa saved the season at Roland Garros, defeating Novak Djokovic and securing the ninth Parisian trophy.
Nadal had struggled the rest of the season, wishing for a better start to 2015. Instead, the Spaniard only managed three minor titles that year and failed to win a Major for the first time in 11 years. Nadal also came up empty handed during his beloved clay court tournaments in April and May, and it all started with the semi-final loss in Monte Carlo.
Novak Djokovic defeated Nadal 6-3 6-3 for his second victory over the king of clay in the Principality in three years. It was Djokovic's fifth victory over Nadal on the slower surface, advancing to the title clash against Tomas Berdych.
Novak won all four meetings against Rafa that season and did not offer him a chance in Monte Carlo. The Serb was motivated to avenge the Roland Garros loss 12 months ago, and he beat Nadal for the seventh time in a row. Like no other player, Djokovic can tame Nadal's shots and keep the points on his racket.
In addition, the Serb can keep in touch with the Spaniard in longer exchanges and break his weapons and rhythm in shorter rallies to gain momentum. Rafa did not play badly in this match, but it was not enough for a more favorable result, losing ground at 3-3 in both sets to hand victory to his rival.
Evert opens up on Rafa Nadal
Chris Evert believes Rafael Nadal's injury problems are a blessing in disguise as they allow the Mallorcan time to rest his body. Against that background, Chris Evert explained to Eurosport that she considers Nadal's latest injury a minor "hiccup."
"I think with his record this year, he has lost one match so far," Evert told Eurosport. "He had that streak of so many tournaments and so many wins, and he has had a wonderful start to 2022. I think this injury is a hiccup."
According to the American, Nadal has the know-how to deal with such situations and make a successful comeback. "He has a myriad, or an abundance, of experience and confidence from years and years and years of pulling himself out of tough matches and being world No. 1. I don't think the mental part will affect him," Evert explained.