Nadal targets at playing a good tournament at Monte-Carlo Masters

Roger Federer's Major titles record is in Rafael Nadal's mind Analyst

Novak Djokovic acknowledged the three-year-old truancy of Roger Federer from the red dirt where the sport of tennis missed his game on clay. On the Next Generation, the 21-year-old added: "We all want to be the best, some of us think that we are already the best, but we all have a lot of hard work ahead of us, we all have great talent".

Writing in the latest issue of Tennishead magazine, Serena Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said he believes Djokovic has a mental edge over Nadal. The Swiss star is now scheduled for Madrid and Roland Garros.

For top seed Novak Djokovic, who resides in Monte-Carlo, it just feels like playing the competition at home. Federer is due for a return to the dirt after two seasons completely off the surface in three weeks at Madrid, his lone scheduled tune-up prior to the French Open, which he last played in 2015. Should he win one of this year's three clay-court Masters 1000 events, where Nadal will also be present, the psychological boost could be crucial for Djokovic. "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 won all the big ones. "He's got a better title chance at tournaments other than Roland Garros, but he has won it in the past (2009)". - Starting in 2008, Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals or better in seven consecutive appearances, with four of his five losses during that span coming against Federer (2) or Nadal (2). "That's the goal. I arrived here on Friday as usual, I had some hours of practice and I hope the competition puts me in the rhythm that I need". "Personally I think most of the people understood why he made a decision to skip the clay court season previous year, and I also understand why he wants to play".

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. "That can serve only as an incentive".

Rafael Nadal is bidding for a record 12th title in Monte Carlo and Novak Djokovic admits the Spaniard is always the favourite on clay.

Djokovic said beating Nadal in a French Open final would top the lot, but as the clay-court season begins in earnest this week, he knows doing it will be extremely hard.

"I think Rafa is always a very clear favorite on any clay court in the world, and it doesn't change", Djokovic said. "Obviously it depends how he's feeling physically". I have seen him (training) here, he's been here a few days. "He's the number one guy on this surface without a doubt".

"After him, it's quite open".

Novak Djokovic said on Sunday he is working to ensure that last month's sub-par hardcourt performances do not affect his seasonal bow on clay in Monte Carlo.

"[Djokovic is] on the top of his game again", Thiem said.



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