Djokovic ends Nadal's Monte Carlo reign
Updated: 2013-04-22 11:27
Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses his trophy after winning the final match of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco April 21, 2013. Rafael Nadal's eight-year reign at the Monte Carlo Masters was ended when he was beaten 6-2 7-6 by Djokovic in the final on Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]
MONTE CARLO - Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal's eight-year reign at the Monte Carlo Masters with a clinical 6-2 7-6 victory in the final on Sunday.
Nadal, the only player to win a tournament eight times in a row, had enjoyed a 46-match winning streak at the claycourt Masters event before world number one Djokovic prevailed to claim his first title in the principality.
The Serbian, who lost to Nadal in Monte Carlo in 2009 and last year, celebrated his 14th Masters crown and became the first player to defeat Nadal in three different finals on clay, having beaten him in Madrid and Rome in 2011.
"Thanks for letting me win this tournament at least once," Djokovic told his opponent on the court after the Prince Albert of Monaco had given him the winner's trophy.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their final match at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco April 21, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
Monaco-based Djokovic, who made a late decision to participate in the tournament after injuring an ankle on Davis Cup duty two weeks ago, produced a superb performance to outplay Nadal on the picturesque center court that has been the Spaniard's stage since 2005.
"I cannot be happier than I am at this moment, knowing what I've been through the whole week ... trying to recover and make my decision to play," he told a news conference.
"If somebody had told me 10 days ago that I'd be winning the trophy, I wouldn't have though it was realistic."
The Serbian, who had said he would need to be at his very best to get a chance to win, played some stunning shots to delight the crowd.
"The first six, seven or eight games were unbelievable. It's the best I can play on clay," he said.