Novak Djokovic reaches 2nd round at Monte Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic reaches 2nd round at Monte Carlo Masters

I got to prepare if I need to play tomorrow.

"He said that a couple of days ago - and I thought he would play Roland Garros".

He opens with a bye and then either Pablo Cuevas or Fernando Verdasco - both are inconsistent these days - before a potential round three with Milos Raonic, another player whose level is tough to judge on clay now.

But with 20-time major victor Federer again skipping the clay season, Nadal must wait a while longer to try and avenge a run of five straight defeats to the Swiss star.

Federer missed the whole season last year and was able to finish the year with two Grand Slam crowns and back at No. 2 in the world. Then he lost his opening matches in March at Indian Wells - to a qualifier ranked outside the top 100 - and Miami.

With Nadal such a dominant favourite - his clay data is superb, but he's not been fully fit this year in reality following retirement in the Australian Open quarter-final - no other player is in single-digit numbers for the title, which gives us some scope for trading or each-way value.

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Tougher tests will no doubt follow, with Croatian ace Borna Coric awaiting him in round two before a potential tie with clay-court specialist Dominic Thiem in the last-16. His display against world number four Alexander Zverev was particularly impressive, winning 6-1 6-4 6-4.

Nadal, notoriously known for his dominant presence on the court, is renowned for taking his time between points, as evident in being docked a first serve during his successful French Cup triumph previous year.

"It's not great but first match on clay, you know, I'm expecting little soreness", Nishikori said. "I think it needs to be slightly balanced but I think it can be good for tennis to have something like that". I'm enjoying being here in Monte Carlo in an event that always brings me to the best feelings possible.

Accompanied by his former coach Marian Vajda in Monte Carlo, Djokovic will be looking to snap a three-match losing streak and capture a first match victory since January.

American youngster Jared Donaldson squared up to French umpire Arnaud Gabas after losing his temper over a line call in weird scenes during a Monte Carlo Masters match on Monday. I always try to be very focused at the beginning of the tournament on what I'm doing. "That's why I am here, to play tennis and to accept all the rules".

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