After years of watching the beautiful scenery and the jaw dropping tennis produced by the “king of clay”, Rafael Nadal, I wanted to experience this tournament live. There was no guarantee that Nadal would even make it to the final; however, I hoped that I would get to see one of my favorite players play on his favorite surface at a tournament that has meant so much to him. It has been a rather difficult stretch for Nadal and he was looking for something to build on going into Roland Garros. The Monte Carlo Rolex Masters was the perfect place for Nadal to claim his first big tournament victory in a long time. He dominated this tournament, winning it eight consecutive times before he ran into Novak Djokovic in 2013. Rivalry is good for all sports, I appreciate that; yet it is only good if there is give and take. There is no enjoyment for the fans if it’s one-sided.
This tournament had it all. Djokovic was upset by a player who had been struggling to find his top form, Jiri Vesely. Vesely did what many tennis fans would consider the impossible, he upset the dominant number one ranked player and defending champion. Nadal disposed of two top ten players en route to the final, something that he had been struggling to accomplish in recent times. Was it the memories of success that got Nadal going? I have to admit that he played his best matches in a long time at this tournament. Although there were still some shaky moments, I felt that something changed internally for Nadal during this tournament. Monfils pushed him and Nadal bent a little, but was not broken and in the end he came away with more important than the title.