T365 Recalls: Five top Monte-Carlo Masters moments featuring Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Tennis Features
Rafael Nadal Monte-Carlo Masters trophy

From the near decade-long dominance of Rafael Nadal to Novak Djokovic’s dethroning of the King of Clay, the Monte-Carlo Masters has been the scene of many historic moments over the years.

After being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the tournament returns next week and Isaac Seelochan has taken a look back at its most memorable moments.

Rafa’s reign

Nadal’s dominance of Roland Garros is well known but the Spaniard has been almost equally imperious at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

The tennis great won eight consecutive titles at this event between 2005 and 2012, including three wins in a row over Roger Federer in the final from 2006 and also crushing Djokovic in 2012.

Rafael Nadal Monte-Carlo Masters trophy
Rafael Nadal won the Monte Carlo Masters eight years in a row

His record 46-match winning streak at the event finally came to an end when he lost to Djokovic in the 2013 final.

Nadal wouldn’t win the tournament again until 2016 where he would then go on to win three in a row to take his overall number of titles at the Principality to 11.

Djokovic dethrones Nadal

Arguably no other player can claim to have disrupted Nadal’s supremacy on clay like Novak Djokovic has, having ended Nadal’s 42-match winning streak at the French Open in 2015 and his eight-year dominance of the Monte-Carlo Masters.

In the 2013 final, Djokovic took a 5-0 lead in the first set and Nadal had to fight off five set points to avoid a bagel.

It is to Nadal’s credit that he made the second set competitive, but in the end it was Djokovic who triumphed 6-2, 7-6 to hand the Spaniard his first loss at the event since losing in the third round to Guillermo Coria on his debut in 2003.

Novak Djokovic at the 2013 Monte-Carlo Masters
Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal’s 46-match winning streak at the event when he beat him in the 2013 final

Musters epic comeback against Becker

The 1995 final saw Thomas Muster take on Boris Becker in a three-hour classic.

Muster was on a 21-match winning streak on the red dirt going into the match but found himself down two sets to love against the German who had never won a title on clay.

But it was the Austrian who eventually triumphed winning 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6, 6-0 to win a second Monte-Carlo Masters crown.

Thomas Muster angry
Thomas Muster triumphed over Boris Becker in an epic 1995 final

Pioline ends France’s wait for a Monte Carlo champion

It had been 37-years since a Frenchman had won the singles title in Monte-Carlo before Cedric Pioline beat Dominik Hrbaty to end that wait.

The Frenchman won a tight battle against Hrbarty 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 to become the first French winner since Pierre Darmon in 1963.

Since his victory in 2000, no French player has won the title with Gael Monfils coming the closest after finishing runner-up in 2016.

Fognini becomes Italy’s maiden Masters winner

No Italian player had won a Master 1000 event on the ATP Tour before Fabio Fognini claimed the Monte Carlo title in 2019.

Fognini beat the likes of Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev and Nadal en route to his historic triumph which culminated in a straight-sets victory against Dusan Laijovic in the final.

Few would have predicted Fognini’s victory particularly after he had won just one of his previous eight matches in the lead up to the event, but the charismatic Italian pulled off his greatest tennis accomplishment to date by lifting the title in Monaco.

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