Rafael Nadal's six Monte Carlo losses - What went wrong for Monte Carlo Prince?
Making the Masters 1000 debut in Monte Carlo as a qualifier at 16 in 2003, Rafael Nadal showed his full potential already in the early years.
Nadal claimed the first Monte Carlo title in 2005 and started to dominate like no other player at any Open era event, winning 11 titles between 2005-2018 and scoring 73 wins from 79 encounters! Still, Nadal experienced two losses in the last two Monte Carlo campaigns, having to wait until 2022 to chase the 12th crown in the Principality. The most recent defeat came to Andrey Rublev on Friday, and we will examine Nadal's every loss at one of his beloved stops in the calendar.
Rafael Nadal's Monte Carlo losses:
2003 R3 vs. Guillermo Coria 7-6(3) 6-2
2013 F vs. Novak Djokovic 6-2 7-6(1)
2014 QF vs, David Ferrer 7-6(1) 6-4
2015 SF vs. Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-3
2019 SF vs. Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-2
2021 QF vs. Andrey Rublev 6-2 4-6 6-2
In 2003, Nadal claimed two Monte Carlo wins at 16 before falling to world no. 26 Guillermo Coria 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 34 minutes. The youngster stayed in touch in the opening set, losing it in the tie break and having not much left in the tank in set number two. Ten years later, Nadal suffered his first Monte Carlo defeat in ten years, reaching the final and falling to Novak Djokovic 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 52 minutes.
Rafa gave his best to follow the rival's pace in set number two after a slow start, but it wasn't enough to force a decider or claim the ninth consecutive title in the Principality.
Rafa couldn't reach the final in Monte Carlo in 204 and 2015, unable to beat two formidable rivals and staying away from the trophy for four years! In 2014, Ferrer toppled Rafa 7-6, 6-4 in over two hours in 2014, winning ten points more and prevailing in the crucial moments to advance into the semis. A year later, Novak Djokovic was too strong in the semis, beating Rafa 6-3, 6-3 after a dominant display on both serve and return. Nadal would bounce back in 2016, winning three consecutive titles to enter history books.
In 2019, Nadal played one of his worst matches on clay to experience a heavy 6-4, 6-2 loss against Fabio Fognini in the semis, suffering six breaks and blasting his performance once they finished. This year, Nadal couldn't overpower the young gun Andrey Rublev, who beat him 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, dominating in sets he won to leave Nadal empty-handed. Andrey had more power in his shots and more energy, making a fresh start in the decider to score one of his most impressive victories against his idol.