Rafael Nadal let his monster clay game rip on Wednesday, crushing Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2 to open his run for a 12th trophy at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Spain’s king of clay, champion at three of the last four editions, spent less than 90 minutes in reaching the third round at the fan-free event; he broke Delbonis five times in the clay masterclass.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner is approaching a career total of 500 wins on clay with just four more to go; during that time he has lost 40 matches.
Monte Carlo is Nadal’s first event since the Australian Open two months ago, which he played to the quarter-finals with a back problem.
“I feel good, I had great practice sessions for the last three, four weeks. I feel in good shape, honestly,” he said.
“You can win, you can lose, but physically and mentally, I’m enjoying being on the Tour.”
While players live in a quarantine situation in the principality – with the tennis venue located physically in COVID locked-down France – local players are allowed to stay in their home while the rest get an hour per day outside of the player hotel.
Nadal finds the brief moment of spare time a massive respite.
“Even if it Even if looks like nothing. having the chance to walk for one hour outside of the hotel per day, it’s a big difference.
“At least you can go out a little bit, get some fresh air walking around sometimes with the team. Even though you can’t stop in a restaurant or shop, you’re just feeling yourself a little bit more free.
“That helps mentally, it’s an important improvement.”
Nadal will bid for another quarter-final on Thursday when he plays Grigor Dimitrov, a 7-6(3), 6-4 winner over Jeremy Chardy of France.
Main photo:- Rafa Nadal makes quick work of Federeico Delbonis – by ATPTour.com