The 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal will make a long-awaited return to the court next week at one of his favorite events, chasing the first title in the Principality since 2018. The greatest clay-courter of all time has won only three titles on his favorite surface after 2018, losing three straight semi-finals in 2019 and competing at only two events in 2020 due to the coronavirus. Now, the Spaniard is throwing everything on his favorite European clay-swing, entering four or five tournaments and hoping to perform well at all of them. Nadal has played only one event so far in 2021, struggling with a back injury and seeking a better run in the next couple of months.
Rafa had to skip Rotterdam and Miami after the Australian Open, staying at home and working on clay ahead of Monte Carlo. Nadal’s doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro shared positive news with Rafa’s fans, saying he feels good and that everything goes as it should on the practice court. Cotorro confirmed that the clay swing is Rafa’s primary goal in 2021, wanting to give his best at these events and secure another Roland Garros title if the season’s second Major goes as planned. Kicking off the new season in Adelaide, Rafa suffered a back injury during the practice session, heading to Melbourne and skipping the ATP Cup as he didn’t want to risk anything.
Rafael Nadal will return to action next week in Monte Carlo.
The Spaniard entered the Australian Open and made a strong start against the lower-ranked rivals, sealing the deal in straight sets to avoid spending more time on the court. Rafa scored comfortable wins over Cameron Norrie and Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter, feeling good on the court and hoping for more of the same against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Nadal opened two sets to love advantage against the Greek, who made a marvelous comeback to stun the 20-time Major champion in thrilling five sets and advance into the last four. Rafa has stayed away from the court ever since, preparing a comeback in Monte Carlo, where he claimed 11 titles between 2005-2018.
“Rafael Nadal is training hard; everything goes according to his plans. Nadal’s goal is to play at his best during the clay-swing from Monte Carlo to Roland Garros,” says doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro.