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Novak Djokovic: Rafael Nadal is the king of clay

By Akshay Kohli    + Follow

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Keywords: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters | Rafael-Nadal | Novak-Djokovic
Novak Djokovic: Rafael Nadal is the king of clay
As World No.1 Novak Djokovic prepares himself for the Monte-Carlo Masters, he does not discredit the effort required to dethrone the SEVEN times defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic is upbeat about the Monte-Carlo Masters, but he admits it will not be an easy task knowing that the draw also features World No.2 and defending champion Rafael Nadal.

“The fact of the matter is that he probably plays the best tennis in Monte-Carlo, at a clay court tournament aside Paris,” said the Serb. “He has won seven times in a row here. From a personal perspective, I think the conditions are slower than Madrid, which has altitude, Rome, Paris, so maybe that works in his favour more. We’ve played already here finals in 2009, good match, but Nadal is the ultimate challenge on clay. He’s the king of clay. He’s the best tennis player ever to play on this surface and one of the best tennis players ever, so that says enough”

Nadal’s won last year's Monte-Carlo event in the absence of Djokovic, however, in the two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournaments to follow – the Madrid and the Rome Masters, he tasted defeat at the hands of Djokovic. “Obviously knowing in 2011 I won Rome and Madrid and winning against Rafa in finals back-to-back gives me a lot of confidence for coming into the clay-court season now,” said Djokovic.

He added that he was looking forward to playing on clay, with his last tournament on clay being the Roland Garros last year. “It is the surface I grew up on,” he said. “In Serbia, up to last couple of years, we only had red clay. I do feel comfortable, I like to slide, and clay allows me to slide. I had a great season on clay last year so I hope to continue this year.”

Djokovic also stated that was ready to switch from hard courts of Miami to the clay courts of Monte-Carlo . “I know how to recover well, to be ready, and I’ve been working hard in my off season and [the week] that I had off after Miami to prepare for clay because clay requires physically much more from a tennis player than other surfaces,” he said. “It’s a slower surface, your endurance needs to be on a high level. You need to by physically strong to expect long matches and long rallies.”

We all know that Djokovic also has a funny side to him and it came out in the end when he commented about Murray's new hairdo, “I tried to copy him. I didn’t go as short. Well, one thing is for sure: we’ll both be faster on the court with less hair.”

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