As you splendid readers know, for the past two years the hardrooting staff has suffered along with Rafael Nadal as the great Spaniard (and 14-time Grand Slam winner) has struggled with his game both physically and psychically.
But hope springs eternal this spring.
With the indomitable Novak Djokovic stunningly out of the picture, Nadal yesterday won the Monte Carlo Open for the ninth time – and the first time he’s won a Masters title in two years.
But just because there was No-vak didn’t mean it was a cakewalk for Rafa. He beat Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, and Andy Murray to reach the final against mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils.
Which produced a helluva match.
Nadal won the first set 7-5, Monfils won the second by the same score, then Nadal shifted into overdrive and bageled Monfils in the third.
Afterward, Nadal was his normal, measured self. Via ATP World Tour:
“The victory here confirms that I am better and I am very happy,” said Nadal. “It is a very, very emotional week for me at a very important event. Monte-Carlo is one of the most important places in my career without a doubt. To win again here after three years is something so special for me.
“I worked hard to have this trophy with me. I am enjoying this moment. It is an emotional moment after some tough moments. But that’s part of life. It is part of sport in general. I hope and I believe that this week and in Indian Wells, these two tournaments, playing at a very high level, is so important. That’s what I needed.”
Good for him.