After struggling to find his best form in 2015 and 2016, Rafael Nadal finally looks like the player the tennis world is used to seeing. The Spaniard struggled with a lot of injury issues and between 2015 and 2016, he won only five tournaments.
Out of those five tournaments, four of them were on the clay court and after starting 2017 in superb form, Nadal will be looking to win his first title of 2017 when the clay court tournament starts with Monte Carlo being the first stop.
This season so far Nadal has reached the finals of three different tournaments in the Australian Open and the Indian Wells where he lost to Roger Federer and the Mexican Open where he lost to Sam Querrey. But with the clay court proving to be his speciality you can expect Nadal to win a few of those tournaments and he is targeting Monte Carlo as his first title of the year.
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"When you come back in a tournament where you have been so successful, memories are always special. I would like to win in Monte Carlo, and if I will be doing well, I will have my chances," IB3 TV quoted Nadal as saying.
After Monte Carlo, Nadal will be playing in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and then at the Roland Garros where he will be looking to win his tenth title. Nadal is currently fifth in the ATP rankings and is almost 600 points behind Federer in fourth and despite the Swiss tennis master set to miss most of the clay court season, Nadal said it's unlikely he will get back into the top four.
However, out of all the clay court tournaments Nadal will be expected to win some of them given his recent form and his success on clay and it will give him a chance to catch up to Federer prior to the start of the Roland Garros. During an interview he spoke about his chances of winning his tenth title at the Roland Garros and said if he has a good season on clay he could get back into the top four.
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"If I play well I will have chances to fight to win, otherwise I won't. It's simple, it's not about dreaming to win or not. But if I have a good season on clay it's possible. So far for me 2017 season went well. I am happy, I've been consistent and I've had only a few bad matches," Nadal said.
Along with Federer, Gael Monfils and Nick Kyrgios will also miss the Monte-Carlo Masters and with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic not in the best of form at the moment, Nadal has real chances to win and gain some valuable points.
Tournament director Zeljko Franulovic was sad that Federer won't be a part of the tournament this year but was still really excited about the tournament.
"I am happy for what Roger is doing this year, it's a pity he won't be with us. But we will have Murray, Djokovic and Wawrinka, the first three players in the world. Nadal will try to defend his title. We are excited about those players' arrival," Franulovic said.