(April 17, 2016) Rafael Nadal won his 28th Masters title and 68th career crown, claiming his ninth Monte-Carlo tournament by beating Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 on Sunday. He is now ties with Novak Djokovic for the all-time lead in Masters Series titles. It’s the 14-time major champion’s first title since last July, when he won on the clay in Hamburg.
Nadal stands just one clay court title away from tying tennis hall of famer Guillermo Vilas in total clay court crowns at 49.
“It was a very important week for me,” said the Spaniard. I feel much better than I did last year. The victory here confirms that I’ve been better. Monte-Carlo is one of the most important places in my career and it’s so special to win here after three years.
“Winning nine times here is unbelievable, and competing well two weeks in a row is something positive.”
“I knew (Nadal) was confident,” Monfils said. “He’s a great champion and puts more into it at the right moments. You’re just submissive to his power. Suddenly in the third set, he increased his power and I just couldn’t cope.”
“I know I worked hard to have this trophy with me,” Nadal said to media. “I am enjoying this moment. Is emotional moment after some tough moments. But that’s part of the life, is part of the sports in general.
“Very happy today. I hope and I believe that this week, Indian Wells, this week, two tournaments in a row, playing at a very high level, I think that’s so important. That’s what I needed.
“I said the first day when I arrived here in the first press conference that I needed matches in a row, I need weeks in a row competing at the highest level. I already have two weeks in a row competing at the highest level.
“Today winning nine times here is something unbelievable for me. Outside of that, that is something so special. Compete well two weeks in a row is something so positive. Another chance next week in Barcelona, I going to try my best again.”
“Have been working hard,” Nadal continued. “I have been working hard since long time ago. Last year have been a tough year in terms — I don’t want to talk anymore, I said enough about the nerves, I was nervous during the matches.
“Is work every day to slow down that, no? Is not going like this, going like this (indicating up and down). It’s not something that stays here and disappears. It’s the work of every day.
“The victories help. Still not 100% perfect, but still is much, much better of everything.
“I don’t have that feeling I had last year on court. Very happy for that. In terms of tennis, I am playing better. It’s obvious.
“I was able to raise the level, increase my level yesterday in the second and in the third, and today again in the third. That’s something I missed a lot the last period of time. Before when the match was coming tough, I was able to increase. This week I was able to do it.
In men’s doubles Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won their third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in a row winning Monte-Carlo over Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 4-6, 6-0, 10-6.
“We have been very humble on the court during the last month and a half,” Herbert said. “After losing the first set, we could have been overwhelmed in the second. But we weren’t. We kept fighting. That means in the long-term, we can be consistent day after day.”
“We were playing well and we also had some luck,” Muhat explained. “When you win matches, you’re more confident and you’re able to relax when you play the important points. It can turn a match around, especially in the (match) tie-break.”