Rafael Nadal feels excited to be back at the Monte Carlo Masters. The Spaniard will open his campaign against Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal said: “This has always been a very special place for me. I watched all of the great champions here as a kid, so it was always a dream for me to be here”.
Last year, commenting on his win over Kei Nishikori in the final, Nadal had said: “Of course it is a special day for me. Winning again this title here in Monte-Carlo means a lot, especially because it is the first tournament in the year that I finished.
To have the victory in a Masters 1000, especially in Monte-Carlo, that for me is one of the most important ones in terms of personal feeling and in terms of the history of our sport. I am very excited and very happy with everything."
In an interview, Kei Nishikori praised Nadal's clay-court skills. The Japanese player lost to the Spaniard in the last year's Monte Carlo final and he will try to look for revenge again over the 11-time tournament champion.
"He is the best player on clay but this surface is a little bit slower, you have a bit more time and his spin is gonna be really heavy. This surface suits his game a lot and it's not easy to beat him here", said Nishikori.
On his recent tournaments, Nishikori added: "I had a couple of good matches playing good tennis but still missed some points and games. I am happy to be back on clay. I can use my speed here, I can get a lot of balls back, use different shots and I love playing on clay, I use my mental strength a little bit more, it's more physical.
I had some good practice after Miami and I am doing well, I am just practising to be ready for my first match here. I have a good memory from last year, I lost to Rafa in the final but coming back from an injury that gave me a lot of confidence."