Five fascinating facts about Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters
Monte Carlo, situated in Monaco, is known for its lavish lifestyle with some of the wealthiest people on the planet residing by the French Riviera. With a population of approximately 3,500 Monte Carlo is world famous for its casinos, cars and hotels.
It is also famous for its tennis tournament which has been dominated by Rafael Nadal who seems to love the area, both on and off the court.
If , like us, this article has made you desperate to visit the tournament then have a chat with our friends at Courtside Hospitality who are the experts in arranging unforgettable Monte Carlo 2023 tennis holidays.
Monte Carlo Masters Debut
Nadal made his first appearance at the event as a teenager in 2003, when he played Slovak Karol Kucera, at the age of only 16. Kucera was 13 years Nadal’s senior, and certainly no pushover having been as high as no.6 in 1998.
However, on that day it was youth that got the upper hand as Nadal won his tournament debut in crushing fashion, 6-1 6-2.
Nadal made his major breakthrough in the second round when he beat reigning Roland Garros champion Albert Costa, in straight sets. The then teenager succumb to defeat in the following round against eventual runner-up Guillermo Coria, but he was only getting started in Monte Carlo.
Dominance at the event
Since his debut Nadal has taken the event by storm, showing just how much he thrives on the red dirt of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. The Spaniard has gone on to win 11 titles, with a win-loss record of 73-6.
To explain the magnitude of this achievement the Masters 1000 tournament series began in 1990, and only six men have won 11 or more titles all-together, Nadal has won 11 titles in one event.
His first Monte Carlo crown, which was also his first Masters 1000 title, came in 2005 and included coming from a set down against Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals.
The final was very fitting, as he came up against Coria again who was the defending champion. Nadal got the better of him on this occasion winning in four sets, 6-3 6-1 0-6 7-5.
From that point Nadal went on to win the tournament every time between 2005-13, winning 46 matches in a row, which is a record for consecutive wins at a single tournament.
His eleventh and most recent triumph at the Principality came in 2018, when he beat Kei Nishikori in the final, without dropping a set all tournament. The Mallorcan has actually won five of his 11 titles in Monte Carlo without dropping a set.
A lot of players often compare the clay of Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, and Nadal’s record at both events would certainly support that.
Considering that Nadal has only lost six matches out of 79 any loss is going to be somewhat of a surprise, but some stand out more than others.
In 2014 Nadal lost only his third match in Monte Carlo, when he suffered a quarter-final defeat to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. It was an uncharacteristic error-strewn performance from Nadal, with Ferrer’s energy causing havoc with his opponents backhand side particularly. Ferrer could not back this win up in the following round as he lost to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka.
Perhaps the biggest shock came in the 2019 semi-final against Fabio Fognini, in a match that Nadal described as ‘one of his worst matches on clay in 14 years.’
Fognini came from 3-1 down in the first set to win 11 of the last 14 games in the match, producing one of the performances of his career. The Italian completed a dream week, beating Dusan Lajovic in a surprise final.
Nadal’s most recent defeat in Monte Carlo came in 2021 against Andrey Rublev. The Russian had lost his first two encounters with Nadal, but he came out firing forcing similar issues for Nadal like Ferrer did back in 2014, with the backhand of Nadal seemingly struggling.
When Nadal forced a deciding set it appeared inevitable what would happen, but Rublev powered his way to the finish line winning the final set, 6-2. Rublev made it to the final, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Rafael Nadal Suite
The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel is famous for its luxury, fitting in with the rest of Monaco. It also has a touch to the Monte Carlo tennis tournament, with its very own Rafael Nadal Suite.
The suite opened in 2018 to honour the champion of the event, who had won 10 times at this stage. The luxury suite includes memorabilia from Nadal’s career, including a tennis racket, shirt, shoes and photos of his title wins in Monte Carlo.
As well as enjoying the environment of the luxurious district, Nadal also likes to travel there in style in his very own customised yacht which is sometimes seen parked in the Monte Carlo Bay.
The yacht was designed by Nadal and his wife Maria, and appears to have everything you could possibly want from a ping-pong table, to a water sports garage which contains Nadal’s ‘water toys’ including a jetski, seabob and jetsurf.
The yacht has four en-suite cabin rooms, with Nadal having his very own VIP cabin that has a balcony which opens up onto the water.
It is clear that Nadal feels at home in the luxurious surroundings of Monaco, and having missed out on the event in 2022 with a stress fracture in his rib he will be expected to make a return in 2023.
To book your dream tennis holiday to watch the 2023 Monte Carlo Masters we can recommend Courtside Hospitality who’ve helped many Tennishead readers to arrange their own tennis tournament holidays and tickets.
Now enjoy Tennishead’s ‘behind the scenes’ fans guide to the Monte Carlos Masters…
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