Rafael Nadal is fueled to win his 12th Monte Carlo title.
Djokovic is the top seed for the Monte Carlo Masters but, after winning the Australian Open in January, he suffered surprise early exits in Indian Wells and Miami, losing in the third and fourth rounds respectively.
Remarkably Kohlscreiber's other win against Djokovic was on the clay of Roland Garros back in 2009 when he beat Djokovic in 3 straight sets.
When he won the French Open in 2016, Djokovic arrived in Paris having won the Madrid Masters and reached the final in Rome. "It (winning Roland Garros) might be tougher for him than winning the Australian Open or Wimbledon, but I'm sure he can do anything if he tries 100 per cent", said Nishikori. He's still my idol, he's the best player in history. "Personally I think most of the people understood why he made a decision to skip the clay court season a year ago, and I also understand why he wants to play". "I think the outcome of the French Open this summer may well depend on matches Rafa and Novak play against each other over the next couple of months".
"And, finally, to win a Grand Slam again, especially in Augusta, probably his favorite one, means everything for him". Definitely, for our sport, it's better that he plays.
Nadal - himself a 17-time grand slam champion - knows a thing or two about returning from injury to prosper on the world stage, and the Spaniard paid tribute to Woods as he prepares to begin his campaign for a 12th Monte Carlo Masters crown.
"I think Rafa is obviously always a very clear favourite on any clay court in the world and that doesn't change".
Nadal could not help but compare his own years of fitness problems to those of Woods, who has faced multiple back surgeries and other roadblocks when it looked like his career might be close to ending.
"I don't see any particular issues for him on this (slow) surface. He's the number one guy on this surface without a doubt". "That can serve only as an incentive so to say, or a confidence boost, prior to clay season".
"After him, it's quite open", Djokovic said of the contenders on clay. - Rafael Nadal won 46 straight matches in Monte-Carlo from 2005-13, but Djokovic brought that streak to an end in the 2013 final, putting on a clinical display to defeat the Spaniard in straight sets and lift his first title at the Masters 1000 tournament.
"So I think from his perspective he's going to have to play maybe somewhat counter-intuitive on the clay, talking about the spin".
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