Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

Djokovic makes Nadal favourite in Monte Carlo as Wawrinka wins opener

Djokovic makes Nadal favourite in Monte Carlo as Wawrinka wins opener

Next month, Djokovic will go into the French Open with the chance to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously for the second time in his career, having done it in 2016 when he won Roland Garros for the first time. Eleven times the champion in Monte Carlo, he also will be going for title No. 12 in Barcelona next week and title No. 12 in the French Open at Roland-Garros next month - numbers that hardly seem possible, especially when said out loud.

While Roger Federer is not playing the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, he is set to compete on clay for the first time since 2016.

But the Serbian resides in the Principality, so playing the first clay-court Masters 1000 tournament at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, where he trains when home, is nearly like a home-court advantage. On the Next Generation, the 21-year-old added: "We all want to be the best, some of us think that we are already the best, but we all have a lot of hard work ahead of us, we all have great talent".

"To get dressed a little bit differently than tennis gear and feel royal a little bit at least for five minutes a day, it's nice", Djokovic said. He's still my idol, he's the best player in history. But I think, personally, people understood why he decided as well to skip the clay-court season previous year and I also understand why he wants to play. "But at the same time, I have had great Roland Garros tournaments in the past where I maybe didn't win any of the big ones before".

For Djokovic's part, the two-time Monte-Carlo champion is trying to bounce back after disappointing third round and fourth round exits in Indian Wells and Miami, respectively. "It doesn't necessarily mean it's going to affect completely my state of mind approaching Roland Garros, but it would definitely serve the confidence better if I have won one coming into Paris".

"The beginning was a bit tough, I was hesitating, I was a bit slow, I was nervous and I was looking a little bit for the conditions", Wawrinka told the ATP Tour website. "Indian Wells, Miami have been kind of so and so, in terms of how I played and the results".

Rafael Nadal is bidding for a record 12th title in Monte Carlo and Novak Djokovic admits the Spaniard is always the favourite on clay. "It's tough to have a clear view about how I am", said the second-seeded Spaniard. "If he's physically fit he's definitely the No. 1 guy on this surface, without a doubt".

"I don't see any particular issues for him on this (slow) surface. And then, you know, after him it's quite open".

Djokovic is the top seed, while Nadal returns to Monte Carlo as the No. 2 seed. "I'm happy to see him playing more tournaments, I hope I can play him again", said the player who has beaten the 37-year-old Swiss three times and most recently last November at the year-end ATP Finals.

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