Rafael Nadal's 2021 season kicked off in Melbourne, where he beat Laslo Djere, Michael Mmoh, Cameron Norrie and Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open before losing in the quarter-finals 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 quarter-finals, in a challenge with the dangerous Russian Andrei Rublev. With his latest result in the prestigious Monaco Masters 1000, Rafa has come dangerously close to a record held by Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors.
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 of 6-2 7-6.
Thanks to his success in the match against Dimitrov, Nadal has come close to a record held by Federer and the American legend Connors: this is the largest number of quarter-finals played in the same ATP event. Rafa, in Monte Carlo, has succeeded sixteen times: Federer and Connors have done so on seventeen occasions, 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 has won at Flushing Meadows five times: in 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983. In the event of a triumph in Monte Carlo, Nadal would return to overtake Daniil Medvedev in second place in the ATP ranking, thanks to the absence of the Russian in the tournament due to his recent positive test for Covid-19.
During a recent interview with Life Style, Indian legend Mahesh Bhupathi pays tribute to Roger Federer.
Bhupathi comments on Roger Federer
“Roger Federer won't be the GOAT, but he will remain the best looking player to watch.
Novak Djokovic is gaining points that he had no chance of winning due to his physical form. Rafael Nadal comes off with bursts on the forehand. It’s a steamroller. But with Federer it's always amazing half volleys, or great backhands.
Against Dan Evans (in Doha), after 13 months without playing, he dropped a backhand on the line on match point. Only Federer can do that. Its variety is astounding. His second serve is the best I have ever faced. It has the ability to hit multiple spots with the same throw and at multiple speeds. His game is based on saving time,” Mahesh Bhupathi perfectly analyzed.