MONTE-CARLO ROLEX MASTERS 2011
Nadal Extends Monte-Carlo Reign
by ATP Staff|
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal reigned supreme at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the seventh year in a row on Sunday as he defeated fourth seed David Ferrer 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Spanish final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
Nadal was presented with the trophy by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, his fiancée Charlene Wittstock, and President of the tournament committee Elizabeth-Ann de Massy.
"It's really emotional and unbelievable for me," said Nadal. "[To] start the clay season like this is fantastic, but [it] is fantastic winning Monte Carlo another time. Probably is a tournament that in the category of [ATP World Tour Masters] 1000 tournaments is the one that I feel more emotional when I am playing for the history of the tournament because here in 2003 everything started.
"[To] win seven times in a row any where is almost impossible I think. But to win Monte Carlo, all the best players in the world are here, you always have tough matches, is impossible to imagine for me. So I am very lucky, I think."
Since making his debut with a third-round exit to Guillermo Coria in 2003, Nadal has gone on to win a staggering 37 consecutive matches in Monte-Carlo and owns a 39-1 record at the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament of the season.
"Rafa is incredible on clay. I mean, he's everywhere at the same time. He's the best player on clay in history," declared beaten finalist Ferrer.
Victory saw the Nadal break two of his existing records. He became the first player in ATP World Tour history to win a title in seven consecutive years, having been the first player to do so six times last year in Monte-Carlo. He also won his 19th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having previously held the record with 18 of the coveted titles. Roger Federer and Andre Agassi both have 17 Masters 1000 titles.
Along with Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, the 24-year-old Nadal is an early front runner to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and added a further 1000 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points to his total with victory in Monte-Carlo. Ferrer, who also qualified for the prestigious eight-man field last year, earned 600 points.
Nadal has now amassed 44 tour-level titles and notched his 30th tour-level victory on clay, tying him in third place with Bjorn Borg and Manuel Orantes in the Open Era clay-court title leaders list. Guillermo Vilas is in first place with 45 clay-court titles, followed by Thomas Muster, who won 40.
In the seventh all-Spanish final at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event (since 1990), service breaks were exchanged in the third and fourth games before Nadal broke decisively in the fifth game to lead 3-2. The top seed struggled to shake Ferrer off, and was forced to save three break point chances in the following game, but held on to clinch the opening set.
Nadal looked to have taken control of the match as he broke in the third game of the second set and quickly established a 4-2 lead. However, a loose game from the Spaniard, including a double fault and costly backhand error, allowed the diligent Ferrer to level at 4-4. Appearing in just his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, though, Ferrer tightened up in the 11th game and Nadal capitalised on a spate of unforced errors from his Davis Cup teammate to break through before serving out victory in two hours and 16 minutes.
"I hope this victory will help me a lot for the confidence," said Nadal. "Maybe I am a little bit more nervous than usual. I'm playing a little bit more defensive than what I have to do. So hopefully this victory is a lot of confidence for me after playing two finals in a row. So the positive results are coming. Hopefully I'm going to play much more aggressive."
The 29-year-old Ferrer had reached his first Monte-Carlo final without the loss of a set and went into the match unbeaten on clay in 2011, having won his 11th ATP World Tour title in Acapulco (d. Almagro) in February. The Valencia resident was also victorious on hard court in Auckland at the start of the season and defeated Nadal to reach the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Murray) for the first time.
"Generally speaking I'm very happy," said Ferrer. "I'm happy with my game also. I was a bit sad about certain moments. But generally speaking I'm happy. I'm satisfied with my game. Reaching the finals here is very difficult to achieve and I'm very happy."
Ferrer had also been beaten by Nadal in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Rome last year, and dropped to an 11-11 record in tour-level finals.