Nadal back in the limelight

Rafael Nadal beat Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 on Sunday to claim his ninth ATP Monte Carlo crown and return to winning ways after a frustrating period in his career.

Since his last ATP Masters triumph at Madrid in 2014, Nadal has struggled for form and health. Consequently, his ranking plummeted to 10th last year, the lowest it has been since 2005.

With this victory, Nadal, who won eight consecutive Monte Carlo crowns between 2005 and 2012, equals Novak Djokovic’s record of 28 Masters titles. Nadal’s performance this week will serve as a warning that he should not be under-estimated at this year’s French Open which begins on the 16th of May.

The first set lasted 75 minutes. It contained fives breaks of serve. Monfils came back from 3-5 down to level matters at 5-5 only to then lose the next two games and the opener 5-7.

Monfils bounced back well to win the second set 7-5. This was the first time he had taken a set off Nadal on clay in his career.

The Frenchman’s decision to chase down everything eventually came back to hurt him as his legs deserted him in the final stanza and Nadal stormed to a 6-0 triumph.

Despite being a great entertainer and a superb athlete to watch, Monfils is now still without an ATP Masters title in his entire career. At 29 years of age, that statistic will surely be of serious concern to him.