Rafa Nadal already knows who will be his first rival on Wednesday in Monte Carlo. It will be another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista, who broke up in the first round of the Australian John Millman, by 3-6, 6-1 and 6-1 in one hour and 51 minutes. The first obstacle in the search for his twelfth title in the Principality is the only Spanish racket that has won a tournament this season. Bautista, number 22 in the world, won in Doha and has already measured twice with Rafa with two defeats: semifinals of Madrid 2014 and the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2017.
To the title of Doha, the Castellón 31-year-old adds a fact that nobody can boast this season: he is the only player on the circuit who has been able to defeat Novak Djokovic twice. He met with the Serbian in Doha and in Miami. Precisely the Balkan has given as a great favorite for the tournament to Nadal. Speaking to the ATP says that "Rafa is always a clear favorite on any clay court in the world and that does not change. If he is physically well, he is number one on this surface, without a doubt. "
Rafa arrives at the tournament after several weeks of training in Manacor and his feelings are good. This was confirmed by his uncle Toni at the presentation of the Mallorca Open WTA tournament. «It is the maximum favorite to win the titles that come. I have seen Rafael hitting the ball very well and he is confident to do a good season on the ground, "he said.
Nadal, eleven times champion in Monte Carlo, as in Barcelona and Paris, won his first title in the Principality in 2005 against the Argentine Guillermo Coria. His record is 68 wins and only four losses, 94.4 percent of wins. The only ones who have been able to win him in the first 1,000 Masters of the season on clay have been Coria in the third round of 2003; Djokovic in the 2013 final; Ferrer in the quarterfinals of 204 and Djokovic, in 2015, in the semifinals. In his last appearance he arrived without playing a game since the Australian Open, but that did not stop him from raising a new title by defeating Nishikori in the final. It was one of the years in which it was more superior, since the average of games played was only two sets. Nadal will reappear in Monte Carlo after not playing an official match since March 16 when he did not appear in the Indian Wells semifinal due to patellar tendonitis in his right knee.