Djokovic and Nadal face tough opening matches in Monte Carlo

I had relief and happiness in 2009 French Open win says Roger Federer

Djokovic, Nadal and more visit Palace of Monaco

Novak Djokovic may top the world rankings but he insists Rafael Nadal remains the clear favourite to win any tournament on clay.

Nadal could not help but compare his own years of fitness problems to those of Woods, who has faced multiple back surgeries and other roadblocks when it looked like his career might be close to ending.

"It's true that there are a lot of issues that happened in the previous year and a half that could be a moment to be a little bit frustrated, but being honest, every time I've had the chance to be back, I competed", Nadal said.

Djokovic will be looking to make a strong start to his clay court season after surprise losses in Indian Wells and Miami.

As he discussed his hopes for the next couple of months at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Monday, Nadal admitted it had been "a tough year and a half", an inability to play more than a couple of weeks in a row costing him momentum on several occasions.

Kohlschreiber beat Djokovic in Indian Wells a month ago and the pair have been drawn to face each other again this afternoon.

"I like where tennis is going, I like the development of the other young guys and it's gonna be interesting to see what it will be like in the future".

"To get dressed a little bit differently than tennis gear and feel royal a little bit at least for five minutes a day, it's nice", Djokovic said. "I've had great form the past 12 months, great form".

"I've been in comeback situations many times; I've always done well". "That can serve only as an incentive, so to say, or confidence boost prior to clay season". That ranks second among active players, trailing only Nadal (92%).

But this is Nadal, and this is clay, a surface on which he has been as dominant as anyone in history.

"That would be the match of the season, yes", Djokovic said Sunday at the Monte Carlo Masters.

"It's very demanding physically, tactically, you have to be more patient, resilient, more enduring".

Djokovic is the top seed for the Monte Carlo Masters but, after winning the Australian Open in January, he suffered surprise early exits in Indian Wells and Miami, losing in the third and fourth rounds respectively. It is a slow surface.

"It's great to play at home".

"It's gonna be interesting to see how the younger guys will do, all of them work hard, play well, sometimes it's a little bit about timing", said Zverev. "The transformation of this club is quite incredible compared to the other times of the year when you don't have a tournament it's really calm and there's not many people. But I like it, I embrace it, and this is definitely one of if not my favourite tournament to play and I can't wait to step on the court".

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