The 33-year-old from Sanremo Fabio Fognini is one of the few players to have managed to defeat Rafael Nadal on clay on more than one occasion: it has happened three times to be precise, the last of which in the semifinal of the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo 2019 , won with a score of 6-4 6-2.
Fabio Fognini recently gave his thoughts on his rivalry with Rafael Nadal, explaining why the Spaniard sometimes finds it difficult to subdue him.
Fabio Fognini reflects on Rafael Nadal
According to Fabio Fognini, defeating Rafael Nadal requires you to have a 'perfect day' on the court.
The Italian did also claim, however, that when he is on his game he can deprive Nadal of time - and thus put him on the backfoot. "Mentally and physically he destroys you, and to beat him you need to have the perfect day," Fognini said.
"I think I have beaten Rafa because I have a game that bothers him a bit," he added. "Especially when I am well, I have shots that do not give him time." In the same breath, however, Fognini lamented the fact that he has been part of one of the strongest eras in tennis history.
"Rafa is Rafa and he could spend a whole day explaining what it means," Fognini said. "I have had a career in which I have met the best in history. When I qualified for the second week of a Grand Slam I was already happy because I was playing Nadal, Djokovic or Federer.
Sometimes Murray, sometimes Del Potro. Those who come later will be lucky because in two, three, four years they will not have to compete with them." It’s a venue that Rafael Nadal loves to come back to, and for good reasons.
As 11 career titles would stand to testify, the Monte-Carlo Country Club, which hosts the prestigious Monte-Carlo Masters, is for Nadal what Halle is for his Big 3 peer Roger Federer. However, the sights and scenes around his favorite venue aren’t the same as they have been in previous years, and nobody’s feeling it more than the Spaniard.
For the first time in its history, the tournament is being hosted minus spectators owing to concerns around the novel coronavirus pandemic. And the new normal has made for some strange and unfamiliar optics that haven’t escaped Nadal’s eye.
Such is the draw this year at the event that Nadal and current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic find themselves in opposite halves and may not cross paths until they go deep into the tournament.