“Need to Play My Best”: Rafael Nadal Opens Up on Facing His Good Friend Grigor Dimitrov at Monte-Carlo Masters 2021

Published 04/15/2021, 2:43 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 14, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


Rafael Nadal got off to a flying start at the Monte-Carlo Masters 2021, knocking out Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2 in the second round. He is now looking forward to challenging his good friend Grigor Dimitrov in the Last 16.

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The Spaniard is behind on match-time compared to his next opponent. Nadal has only participated in the Australian Open, where he lost in the quarterfinal, before coming to Monte-Carlo. Despite that, and the gap between Australia and Monaco, the 34-year-old looked as good as he does playing on clay.

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Rafael Nadal on facing Grigor Dimitrov at Monte-Carlo Masters 2021

On the other side, the 29-year-old Bulgarian is on his 5th tournament of this year already. More importantly, he has reached the quarterfinals stage in three of the previous four tournaments. Thus, the 20-time Grand Slam champion understands how big a threat Dimitrov is.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov reacts after his third round match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

2018 ATP Finals winner Grigor Dimitrov overcame Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy, both in straight sets to meet Rafael Nadal. In response, the Spaniard expressed that the matchup would be challenging, but he will be ready.

“He started the season playing well. Always a tough battle in front of him. He is a great player, a good friend of mine. I need to play my best if I want to really have chances to keep going,” Rafa said smilingly. He concluded with his humble “I am gonna try” phrase.

The Spaniard has a whopping 13 to 1 lead in the head-to-head battle against Dimitrov. The last and only time the Bulgarian won against Nadal was at the 2016 China Open quarterfinals. Therefore, the 29-year-old will have to create magic if he desires to win against the king of clay on clay.

Not to mention, Nadal is the record 11-time champion of the Monte-Carlo Masters. Moreover, he would not be satisfied with anything less than the title.

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Nadal has to endure a rigorous path to make it to the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters. As per his side of the draw, he will meet World No. 8 Andrey Rublev or his compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut next.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 14, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Since Daniil Medvedev pulled out of the tournament after testing positive, the semi-final spot is open in Rafa’s side of the draw. If all goes right, fans will witness a Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic battle on clay once again. However, the Spaniard takes every match seriously and will pin his entire focus on dismantling Dimitrov right now.

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Who do you think will win the Monte-Carlo Masters 2021 title?

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Purav Joshi

932 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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