Nadal beats grieving Djokovic
Rafael Nadal finally managed to beat Novak Djokovic in a final, thrashing the top-ranked Serb 6-3, 6-1 yesterday to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the eighth consecutive year and end a run of seven straight defeats to his rival in title matches.
Nadal was hardly troubled by Djokovic in this one and broke the Serb's serve five times in a one-sided affair on clay to win his 42nd straight match at Monte Carlo. It was his first title since last year's French Open and the 47th of his career.
Nadal now leads their head-to-head series 17-14, but it was his first win against Djokovic since an early match at the 2010 ATP Finals in London. The Serb had beaten Nadal in three consecutive Grand Slam finals and handed him his only defeats on clay last year.
''Winning against Novak in (the) final after losing a few ones is important for me,'' Nadal said. ''My level of tennis was high during the last four matches.''
Nadal has won a record 20 Masters titles, putting him one ahead of 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
Djokovic, who has been playing through grief since the death of his grandfather last Thursday, said he felt emotionally drained and was unable to summon the mental strength he needed to dig deep against Nadal.
''I definitely don't want to take away anything from Rafa's win. He was a better player,'' Djokovic said. ''But it's a fact that I just didn't have any emotional energy left in me.''
Djokovic's grandfather was buried in Serbia on Saturday.
''I've never been caught up in this kind of emotional situation before,'' Djokovic said. ''I'm just happy to reach the finals really under the circumstances. It's been a very difficult week for me to go through mentally.''
He has not decided what his schedule will be over the next few days.
''I obviously have to go to visit my grandfather's grave and see, because I wasn't there (at the) funeral yesterday,'' he said. ''So I'll be there.''