Overcoming injuries, hard work & determination to succeed
The first Sunday of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters continues its tradition of giving the credited press the opportunity to meet the top best players of the tournament in a round table format, who unveil their expectations approaching their first clay Masters 1000 of the season. The top seeded players will start their quest not before Tuesday, April 17, so we have to be patient!
Spaniard Rafael Nadal, is on the road to conquer his 11th crown at the legendary Monte-Carlo Country Club. The World No. 1 is back on the circuit after a psoas injury (one of the two muscles on each side of the body that go from each side of the spine to the top of the thigh bone). But after two victories during the Davis Cup weekend, he feels in good shape, particularly because he feels at home on court Rainier III, a terrain that brings back positive memories. (Photo insert: Rafael Nadal RMCM 2018 @CelinaLafuentedeLavotha)
Rafael Nadal enthusiastically said : « I love this tournament and I always feel good here. The weather is good event if it had not been the case lately, and there is no wind. Those are good conditions to play tennis. I savor the fact of being here in Monte-Carlo, a tournament that gives me the best sensations ever. I have good memories here. »
Competition will be fierce to challenge Nadal from claiming another victory on his own turf. Monegasque residents Croatian Marin Cilic(No.2) and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov(No.4) count on their latest extremely good results to try to triumph at home. Dimitrov who won the London Masters 2017 is totally recovered from a virus and is ready to rumble.
Marin Cilic said : « I feel really good. I am seeded No. 2 so the expectation level is different. I have the feeling of being able to go far in all the tournaments this year. I play very well and that enables me to believe and stay concentrated each week on my goals. »
German Alexander Zverev (No.3) is very happy to be home in Monaco to resource himself with friends and family after extensive travelling. He said: “I feel fresh again, and I always enjoy playing on clay it feels more natural to me.”
The Austrian Dominic Thiem (No.5), who is also a Monaco resident, felt in good form in spite of a twisted ankle in Indian Wells and the bruised bones that accompanied the injury. He said: « I feel better prepared for the clay season this year because I had more time to train than usual. I had more hous on clay on my legs, so if I play well, I could make a great season. When Rafa is there and he plays well, it is always complicated and does not offer many chances to the adversaries. But if we put Rafa on the side, I think the game is much more open this year. »
Belgian David Goffin (No. 6) is feeling much better after being forced to retire in the Rotterdam Open after a freak on-court injury, where he was struck in the left eye by a ball that bounced off his own racquet, sending Dimitrov in the the finals. He is very positive, tries to leave the accident behind him, and hopes to do well in the tournament in spite of the injury that kept him off the courts for a while. Goffin said : « This is the first tournament on clay and it is nice to play at home and in good conditions. I played on clay since very young so I love this surface. I have good memories from last year. »
French Lucas Pouille(No.7), who is French No. 1, dreams of leaving his mark on this tournament, after having sharpened up his game during Davis Cup on clay. « For me, Monte-Carlo represents one of the most beautiful tournaments in the world. For its level and the surroundings that are incredible, it is a competition that I appreciate a lot. I am really motivated with the idea of coming here to play, » emphasized Pouille.
Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta(No.8) will also be a contender who has been having a very good season, feels he in top form and is looking forward to play on the clay court of the Monte-Carlo Country Club, his favorite surface and plans to do well. (Photo below: Pablo Carreno Busta RMCM @CelinaLafuentedeLavotha)
Order of Play for Monday, April 16, 2018
“I just want to live my life the best way I can and enjoy the moment that I have off the court because you need to find a good balance. I think this is very important” Grigor Dimitrov