Monaco | Nadal notches his 11th
Rafael Nadal has successfully defended his Monte Carlo title for a remarkable 11th time which is also his 31st Masters, both incredible achievements in their own right. The history books will show that he is the first player to win 11 titles at the same tournament, something which he could well repeat in the next few weeks in Barcelona and the French Open, after beating Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2 in the final.
My legs were very heavy today, playing three sets (over) three days in a row It wasn’t easy physically Kei Nishikori
“It’s great to have this trophy in my hands again,” a very satisfied Spaniard said following success.
In addition, it gave him his76th career title and ensured the Spaniard keeps his top ranking ahead of Roger Federer.
Nishikori, who was chasing his first Masters title, felt the weight of the Nadal game early in the match as he required 11 minutes to hold his serve for 1-1 ad though he broke the world No.1 in the next game, he then lost the next four.
“I knew it was going to be tough even though I was up a break,” said a tired Nishikori. “My legs were very heavy today, playing three sets (over) three days in a row It wasn’t easy physically.”
That was evident in the second set as Nadal cruised through to collect the title and inflict his 10th victory over the Japanese player in 12 meetings, on his first match point and, after a brief celebration, went over to commiserate with Nishikori
“It’s not easy to describe when you are coming back from injury and you start the clay-court season in this way,” Nadal said remembering that his opponent was on his way back to full fitness after four months side lined by a wit a wrist injury.
“It was a great week for me, I had an injury and couldn’t play for a long time,” said Nishikori, a former word No.4 whose ranking has slipped to 36.
Nadal has not dropped a set in seven matches since he also is making a comeback following a hip injury which has kept off court since retiring in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
“I want to thank all my team and my family. We had some tough moments during the last five months after a couple of injuries in a row,” Nadal said. “It’s always special for me to be back here, having this trophy. It’s one of the most important events of the year for me.”