It's that time of the year when back-to-back clay court tournaments are held and Rafael Nadal tries to make them all his own. The Spaniard has won eight successive titles in Monte-Carlo between 2005 and 2012 before losing out to Novak Djokovic in the final last year.
The World no. 1 has a staggering 48-2 event record in Monte-Carlo Masters and starts off his campaign against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili on Wednesday.
"It's my favourite part of the season," Nadal said. "In the last eight to nine years, I had positive results here and I was able to win a lot of matches and compete for the best tournaments of this clay-court season," the 27-year-old said. "That makes the situation a little special for me every time I come back to these tournaments because they are tournaments where I really feel I have great memories and I enjoy. All the tournaments I'm going to play in this next month-and-a-half, I love it. I feel comfortable in every city, in every tournament."
Nadal acknowledged that there are way too many points in the offering in an eight-week span where top players will battle it out for three Masters 1000, one 500 and a Grand Slam. Having received a trashing from Djokovic to end his eight-year reign was difficult, but not the end, says the Spaniard.
"Every year is completely different," Nadal added by saying, "The only thing that I really know is the only way to have chances to compete well is to respect 100 percent every opponent. When competition arrives, play with the right motivation, with the right humility. Every point is important."
Where to Watch Live
Global viewers can stream the live action HERE and HERE. In India, the Live Coverage will be on Ten Sports. Whereas in the US and Australia, ESPN will do the live coverage, but to watch the action live online, click HERE.
Central Court Schedule [start 10:30 am local time; 2.00 pm IST]
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Roger Federer (SUI)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs Marin Cilic (CRO)
Defending champion Novak Djokovic has already begun his campaign in Monaco beating Spain's Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0 to enter round three. "For the first match on clay, it was great," the Serb said after the match. "I lost only one game, so there were not too many flaws in my game that I could recall."
French No. 2 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, on the other hand, did not have it easy in the court against Philipp Kohlschreiber. The match lasted two hours and Tsonga did well enough to get past the German 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
David Ferrer, seeded sixth, brushed aside France's Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0. The 32-year old Spaniard made it to the finals here against Nadal in 2011. He'd be hoping to go a step ahead this year.