Nadal looked happy and relaxed today as he talked to media and trained on the courts of Monte Carlo. What was noticably absent was the piece of strapping, most likely a pain patch or a slow anti inflammatory patch, from his left knee that was present during his practice with Almagro the other day.
While Fernando Verdasco called Rafa “the guy to beat”, Rafa hasn’t won a tournament in almost 11 months but has made a respectable showing in all big events this year. Nadal appeared to be moving well on his beloved dirt the day after the players party and will open his 5 time title defense on Wednesday.
Nadal who has traveled to Monte Carlo with his girlfriend Xisca Perello in addition to his normal entourage looked as relieved as most Nadal fans feel about the beginning of the clay court season and a few months break from the hard courts.
In order to successfully defend the points he won last year on clay Rafa has some hard work ahead of him. He is the 5 time defending champion at Monte Carlo and Barcelona, he is also defending champion at Rome and was runner up at Madrid before being knocked out of Roland Garros in the 4th round.
A series of preview videos to promote Monte Carlo have been released today featuring Marin Cilic, Nadal, Verdasco and Novak Djokovic. The event is missing a considerable number of top players who have either chosen to sit out the non mandatory event (Federer & Roddick) or are injured (del Potro, Soderling, Monfils, Simon).