Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas have combined to win five of the last six Monte-Carlo Masters titles. They are also the only players to win back-to-back titles at the event since 2003. Despite that, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina thinks their respective playstyles are worlds apart.
While the Spaniard reckons the Mallorcan is a "beast" who subdues his opponents physically, he feels the Greek's one-handed backhand is just as difficult to play against.
Speaking at his press conference after losing the 2022 final against Tsitsipas in straight sets, Davidovich Fokina was all praise for his vanquisher. The World No. 27 noted that Tsitsipas was just as tricky to tackle as the 21-time Grand Slam champion even though he doesn't have the innate advantage of being a leftie.
"It's very different. It's different because, in the end, Rafael Nadal is a lefty and, you know, when we play against him we always play the backhand. [That's why] it is tough to play against Rafa," he said. "Stefanos has a one-handed backhand. But it is not easier to play [against Tsitsipas] than Rafa either. It's a different ball. Physically, Rafa, he's a beast."
Despite his dream run at Monte-Carlo ending in disappointment, the Spaniard sounded upbeat. Davidovich Fokina is scheduled to play at the Barcelona Open next week, where he will take on qualifier Hugo Dellien in the first round.
The World No. 27 confirmed that he will be playing in Spain despite the hectic schedule, adding that he did not want to miss out on the few tournaments he gets to play in front of his friends and family.
"Oh, for sure I will play Barcelona. We have only two or three tournaments in Spain. So I have to play, because, you know, [it's] in front of my friends, in front of all my people," he said. "It's like I will go with more confidence and with a lot more emotions than here."
Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the 2022 ATP Race to Turin
Rafael Nadal continues to lead the 2022 ATP Race to Turin, despite having missed out on the last two Masters 1000 tournaments. The Spaniard has accumulated 3,350 ranking points from four tournaments so far.
Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas has leapfrogged Carlos Alcaraz into second place. The Greek now has 2,440 points to his name, almost 500 points more than the Spanish teenager's haul of 1,960 points. Daniil Medvedev, Taylor Fritz, Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Casper Ruud round out the top eight as of now.
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