Rafael Nadal was seen on court with a new Babolat racquet when he opened his quest to clinch the monte-carlo masters trophy for the ninth time in his career on Wednesday against the Italian Lucas Pouille.

The world No. 5 indicated that he had been planning to change frames before his recent sub-par performances on hard courts. “There was not enough time to prepare the racquet before the start of the season. Now, they are ready. I’ve been training with them in Mallorca since I returned from Miami,” he said.

The fresh Babolat racquet looks to give him more weight behind the shots, though could create more errors if not played in control.

“The holes between the strings are slightly larger than the other one. It is true that with this new racquet probably have less control. In theory, I get more power and topspin,” he added. “There are always risks when you change things, but I like the racquet and will keep using that one.”

It will be interesting to watch the much anticipated semi-final match between the arch rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic when they meet for 43rd time in their career, provided both book their semi-final berth at the Monte-Carlo masters.

edited by Bhavna Rachuri

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