Rafael Nadal was delighted with his performance after the match, and said that he has always loved competing in this event and gaining confidence at the beginning of the clay tour. It was his seventh match on clay and the seventh win for Nadal, who held the lead in sets one and three with seven breaks on his 14-chance tally. Two incredible base players put together numerous extended rallies, and the match would have lasted more than three hours if they had played a couple more games in the deciding match. Djokovic did his best to stay aggressive and impose his blows, adding 50 unforced errors as he tried to break through Nadal’s resistance and losing ground in the final set after a wonderful performance in the second. “It is important for me to start the clay season with a victory; it is good for my confidence. I never expected to win five Monte Carlo titles; it is one of the biggest events, and some of the best players in the world have played here for years. I debuted here in 2003 and now I have five titles. Everything in this tournament is special. Novak is an excellent player on all surfaces and he is among the best clay court players in the world. Playing against him is never easy, and today was no exception,” said Rafael Nadal.
Rafa and Iga won the Italian Open this year
Second seed Iga Swiatek is through to the third round in her debut Indian Wells tournament. She defeated Croatian Petra Martic in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 in 71 minutes. Following the match, the 20-year-old Pole reflected on practicing with Rafael Nadal earlier this year. It is common knowledge that Rafael Nadal is Iga Swiatek‘s childhood idol. Earlier, on the ATP Cross Court show, she also explained that her admiration for him is not only about the game. “Tennis-wise, I don’t think he was playing 100%,” Swiatek laughed nervously. “First of all, I was so excited because that was my birthday present from my psychologist. I was not expecting that at all. I was not sure if I would talk to him normally or I would stutter,” she continued. “So, I learned that he is a normal guy, and that’s the best part of it because it feels like the success did not change him.” While he returned to compete at the Citi Open, Nadal continued to experience pain in his left foot. The former World No.1 subsequently pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters and, a few days later, declared an end to his season, just ahead of the US Open.