Rafael Nadal's 2021 season began in Melbourne, where he beat Laslo Djere, Michael Mmoh, Cameron Norrie and Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open before losing in the quarterfinals to young Stefanos Tsitsipas, after leading two sets.
Arriving in Monte Carlo, the Spaniard defeated Federico Delbonis and Grigor Dimitrov to reserve a place in the quarterfinals, in a challenge with the dangerous Russian Andrei Rublev (Nadal lost). With his latest result at the prestigious Monaco Masters 1000, Rafa has come dangerously close to a Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors record.
Nadal numbers The former Spanish world number one is the most successful tennis player in the Monte Carlo tournament: he has triumphed eleven times here, from 2005 to 2012 and from 2016 to 2018. He also reached the final in 2013, defeated by Serbian Novak Djokovic with a score 6-2 7-6.
Thanks to his success in the match against Dimitrov, Nadal has moved closer to a record held by Federer and American legend Connors - this is the highest number of quarter-finals ever played in the same ATP event. Rafa, in Monte Carlo, has achieved it sixteen times: Federer and Connors have done it seventeen times, the Swiss in Halle, Wimbledon and Basel; the American at the US Open.
Roger also holds the record for success in his three rounds of the Tour, won between 2003 and 2019. As for Connors, the American won at Flushing Meadows five times: in 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983. In the case of A Monte Carlo win, Nadal would once again overtake Daniil Medvedev in second place in the ATP rankings, thanks to the absence of the Russian in the tournament due to his recent positive test for Covid-19.
The Spaniard will appear at the Roland Garros in Paris as the holder of the trophy, which he will attempt to lift for the fourteenth time in his career. Remember that the 2021 French Open will skip a week from its original date.
20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal recently spoke with an English daily on a wide range of topics.
Nadal on playing and traveling regularly
"Hopefully at the end of my career, when I stop doing what I am doing, I’m going to have the time to analyse more these things," Rafael Nadal said.
"Today, I’m just focused to try and keep going. We have a lot of tournaments throughout the year. Tennis goes quick, it’s not plenty of time to enjoy success or to think about, 'I have this. I have won this'
Okay, I know I had a lot of success in this part of the season but in the past," he added. "This year is another year. The only thing that I’m doing is practise every day with the right attitude and try to put myself in a position again to be very competitive in the beginning."