Rafael Nadal at practice, Barcelona 2016

Rafael Nadal is already back at practice after his Monte Carlo victory yesterday. This week he’s playing the Barcelona Open, a tournament he has won 8 times.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
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Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2016

Rafa is back in the winners’ circle! Nadal claimed his 9th Monte Carlo title, as he defeated Gael Monfils 7-5 5-7 6-0 in an exciting final. He has now won 48 clay court titles, just one short of Guillermo Vilas’ record.

The victory here confirms that I am better and I am very happy, no? Is very, very emotional week for me, very important event. Probably Monte-Carlo is one of the most important places in my career without any doubt.
Win again here after three years is something so special for me. So very happy for that.

Check out our Monte Carlo 2016 coverage.

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2016

Enjoy a few pictures and videos of Rafa at practice this week in Monte Carlo. He beat Andy Murray earlier today to reach his 100th career final.

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2016

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2016

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2016
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Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2016

Outplayed by Murray in the fist set, Nadal fought back to level the match at one set all, and for an hour it seemed the old Rafa, winner of 9 Roland Garros titles was back. Andy lost it mentally in the third, and Rafa won 2-6 6-4 6-2 in 2 hours and 43 minutes.

“I think I played a great second set in terms of mentality. In the third set, I played aggressive… It was a great match. It’s a very important week for me, being in a final here again in Monte-Carlo, winning against very tough opponents.”

Nadal will play Gael Monfils in the final.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Rafael Nadal
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From 25 years of the Tennis Europe Junior Tour:

I never played against Rafa (in juniors) except in doubles. We played the deciding match of the Winter Cups ties on an indoor court. I was playing with Jamie Baker and he was playing with Marcel Granollers, and we lost. I beat Granollers in the singles, Nadal beat Matt Brown in the second singles and then we lost the deciding doubles. But I never played him in singles until we met as pros.

Does that defeat still hurt?

[laughs] Not so much, no. I’ve lost a couple of matches to him since then that have hurt more, but at the time it was definitely a pity.

Also read:
Andy Murray recalls his first match against Novak Djokovic