April 26, 2018

Rafael Nadal Ready To Return To Action After Injury Lay-Off

17 April 2018, 12:57 | Sandy Nunez

Rafael Nadal could face Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals next week

Rafael Nadal could face Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals next week

As you may expect from this, big-servers are not suited at all in what are very different conditions to what was witnessed last week on the quicker clay in Houston, and in Monte Carlo in this time period, a mere 0.30 aces per game were served, down from the 0.38 ATP clay average.

The 22-year-old Aussie stunned Roger Federer in the Miami second round last month and is starting to show the kind of form that made him such a promising prospect back in 2015 when he peaked at 69 in the world as a teenager.

"Being in Monte-Carlo always gives me the best feelings possible and good memories. I mean, I (have) played probably six, seven matches since Wimbledon previous year", said Djokovic, who next faces Borna Coric of Croatia.

The younger Zverev brother, at [10.5], is the market second favourite, but doesn't have the best clay data (just a 108.9% combined hold/break percentage in the last 12 months), and his 16-4 clay record in this time period indicates he won a ton of tight matches, as is often the case with him. "Hope I get more confidence and do well [at] these five tournaments on clay".

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The 31-year-old reclaimed the world number one spot at the end of last year and has continued to build on his steady progress battling back from an injury-ravaged couple of seasons. "I know I gotta keep mine", Djokovic said on Twitter this week. Bedene is coming off a solid showing in which he got 70 percent of his first serves in play and dropped just 15 service points overall.

The most strenuous part about it all, Nadal argues, is the physical aspect of the shot clock, claiming that players will be much more worn out during the points, taking away from their peak physical performance in front of a loud and eager crowd. "It's obvious that sometimes when you play a rally with 56 shots as I did with Novak (Djokovic) a couple of years ago in the final (US Open 2013), you can not expect a good point if you have 25 seconds on the next point", said the 16-time Grand Slam champion.

The shot clock was trialled during US Open qualifying previous year, and was also used at the 2017 NextGen Finals in Milan and the exhibition International Premier Tennis League. "In some cases it was working well and some cases not", said world number three Marin Cilic. "I think it needs to be slightly balanced but I think it can be good for tennis to have something like that".

BC-TEN-Monte Carlo Masters-Wary Nadal, 718 Nadal wary of saying he's fully recovered from thigh injuryAP Photo LON118Eds: With AP Photos.

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