Will Rafa Nadal Clean Up on the Clay Courts?
Rafa is back! He’s currently tearing up the field at the Monte Carlo Masters, which he has won a record 10 times. The guy hadn’t played a match since he retired in the quarters of the Australian in the fifth set against Cilic with an injury. As I write this blog, on this beautiful Friday morning, I just witnessed Rafa absolutely annihilate Dominic Thiem, 6-0, 6-2. By the time you read this, he may have already beaten Dimitrov in the semifinals and Zverev/Nishikori in the final for his 11th Monte Carlo Masters. Even if he does not reach the final, this has been a pretty positive outing for someone that hasn’t played in months. It looks like he’s fully recovered from injury.
Annihilating Dominic Thiem is nothing to scoff at either, as Dominic is probably one of the three best players in the planet on red clay. But today, he looked ordinary. Regardless of whether he is victorious in Monte Carlo this weekend, here’s what history has told us about Rafa Nadal in the months of April, May, and June. History has told us that he has owned everybody for the last 14 years on the red clay. He’s won the French Open, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona 10 times. He’s won Rome seven times and Madrid five times. Nobody comes close in the history of clay to winning this much. Hence, why he is called the King of Clay. I’m excited to see how our 31-year-old King of Clay performs during these next few months.
Speaking champions, Djokovic had a decent showing at Monte Carlo. He got beat by Dominic Thiem in three sets, which at the time this happened it looked pretty respectable. That is of course until Rafa Nadal got a hold of Dominic a day later and completely demolished him. I hope Djokovic doesn’t look at that result and think to himself, “Man, I got beat by a guy who won three games against Nadal a day later.” Let’s hope Dominic had a bad day and is back in form for the rest of the clay court swing. As for Djokovic, things seem to change for him from day to day. He recently parted ways with Agassi, and seems to have a renewed focus. Let’s hope that he does get back to the top, where he belongs. I’d like to have Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer all firing on all cylinders – as a selfish tennis fan of course.