This afternoon, tennis fans at the Monte Carlo Masters will be thrilled to see eight-time champion Rafa Nadal go for a ninth title at his stomping ground. He looks set to rule in Monaco again. Of course, it is only the world number one Novak Djokovic who stands in his way.
The scene in Monaco is set. The heavenly backdrop of the Mediterranean sea is apt as the two tennis idols get ready to show their divine powers on the tennis court.
In a rerun of last year’s French Open final, both players will be desperate to record a victory today. Nadal’s comeback from an eight month absence has been impressive. In Indian Wells, his tournament win against Juan Martin del Potro was a sure sign of what is to come. By his impeccably high standards, Nadal had to struggle to win on the hard court but this week he is back on the surface that he dominates. Grigor Dimitrov managed to gain a set from the Spaniard in the quarter finals but he did not make the same mistake against the loveable Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday. The Nadal forehand is rampant and ready to return to the very top of the game.
Novak Djokovic has himself struggled, nursing the ankle injury he picked up on Davis Cup duty for Serbia. The Serb has had to grit his teeth from the first match, where Mikhail Youzhny looked a threat. Yet, the world number one has ground out the victories whilst producing some flashes of brilliance that will trouble Nadal in the final today.
Watch Djokovic’s superb winner against Mikhail Youzhny below:
These two stalwarts of the game have already produced one of the greatest finals in history at the Australian Open last year. That epic match will be difficult for those who witnessed to forget. Their last meeting on clay? The French Open final last year. Djokovic will want to place those memories in the back of his mind today.
Nadal will be under pressure to defend his title in Monaco but if Djokovic wins, it may set a marker for Roland Garros in a few weeks time. Although, fans should wait until Madrid and Rome to hedge their bets on the Serb rather than the undisputed “King of Clay.”