Djokovic wins first Monte Carlo title

April 22, 2013

Kennelbach/Austria — HEAD racquet rebel Novak Djokovic played what he called the best clay match of his career to make his Monte Carlo trophy breakthrough with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Rafael Nadal in the final that ended Nadal’s eight-year reign. The ATP World No. 1, who uses a HEAD YouTek™ Graphene™ Speed racquet, was a doubtful starter this week with an injured ankle but played through the problem to lift the trophy, the 37th of his career and 14th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level.

Djokovic now owns three titles this season after the Australian Open and Dubai. “I cannot be happier than I am in this moment knowing what I’ve been through the whole week, actually two weeks, right after Davis Cup, trying to recover and make a decision to play or not to play,” said the racquet rebel. “If somebody told me 10 days ago I’d be winning the trophy, I wouldn’t think it’s so realistic, to be honest. I went through pain, I went through a big challenge, mentally, physically, emotionally, and in the end it was getting better as the tournament was going on. It was a high mountain to climb for me, and I knew that. It was the biggest challenge that you can have on clay. But I managed to overcome it. I was ready to accept that challenge. I made the decision to play – and it was the best decision I’ve made in my life.”

Djokovic became the first player to beat Nadal three times in a clay court final. “It’s a very joyful moment for me because I’ve wanted that trophy badly all my life, especially in last six, seven years that I’ve been spending my time and living here between the tournaments in Monaco. This is a great confidence boost before the rest of the clay court season, definitely.”

First time pairing Nenad Zimonjic (HEAD YouTek™ IG Radical) and Julien Benneteau capped a dream week as they defeated two-time defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 14-12. Zimonjic and Benneteau saved seven match points to win a rain interrupted final. “It was unbelievable”, said Zimonjic, “they are such champions. We really had to play unbelievable at the end!” The Serb lifted this trophy for the fifth time after 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010.