Two months off court means nothing to Rafael Nadal, with the Spaniard declaring on Sunday that he’s locked and loaded for the start of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Spain’s undisputed king of clay will start the bid for a 12th title in the principality at an edition to be played without fans due to French COVID-19 protocols.

The 34-year-old is seeded third behind Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, winner and runner-up at the Australian Open.

“I’m feeling good, this is only my second tournament this year but that’s because of the situation we are facing (COVID-19),” Nadal said..

“This is the most important part of the season for me, I’ve done all the work to be ready.”

Nadal played through in Melbourne to the quarter-finals with a back problem, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas – but that problem is no longer a worry.

“I’m happy with how I’m playing, for the moment my body is in good shape. I”m very excited to be playing, even if we don’t have the fans,

“I do miss the crowd like at a normal tournament, but I’m happy we are still able to play. 

“I’m ready to give my best, I”m going day-by-day to be ready for the first match on Wednesday, ‘

“I hope to stay healthy for the next month and a half (clay season) and hope to have my chances to compete at the right level,” added the seed with a first-round bye.

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