"When you play Rafael Nadal, you expect toughest challenge" - When Novak Djokovic responded to Spaniard preferring 'easier' Monte-Carlo final opponent

Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)
Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)

Novak Djokovic once shared his perspective on Rafael Nadal preferring an 'easier' opponent over him in the 2013 Monte-Carlo Masters final.

Eight-time defending champion Nadal positioned himself favorably for a shot at clinching his ninth consecutive Monte-Carlo Masters title in 2013, setting the stage for a blockbuster final against Djokovic.

However, the Spaniard admitted that he would have preferred an "easier" opponent than the Serb in the final, expressing his reluctance to take on the best players.

"No. I am not this kind of players that they are stupid and say, No, I want to play against the best. No, I don't want. I want to play against another opponent that is easier (smiling)," he said in a press conference after his semifinal win.
"I play against Djokovic, so I going to try my best to play my best match and try to give me a chance to win the final. But is not the perfect opponent," he added.

Novak Djokovic addressed Rafael Nadal's remarks after his semifinal win, echoing the Spaniard's sentiments about anticipating a difficult contest and emphasizing the tough challenge he always expects when facing Nadal on clay.

Nevertheless, the Serb expressed his readiness to embrace the challenge, stating that his confidence had grown with each match at the Masters 1000 event.

"Well, look, you know, whenever you play Rafa, you know what to expect. You expect the toughest challenge possible on clay," the Serb said in his post-match press conference.
"I'm ready for that. You know, I was focusing only on the next challenge, on the next day. I'm very happy that physically, mentally, emotionally I have been improving as the tournament was going. Each day I feel better on the court, more confident," he added.

Novak Djokovic: "I will have to be motivated from the start to the end to have any chance of winning against Rafael Nadal"

Djokovic (left) and Nadal
Djokovic (left) and Nadal

Novak Djokovic went on to say that he would have to perform at his very best level to stand a chance of beating Rafael Nadal in the Monte-Carlo Masters final.

"Of course, I will have to be on top of my game I will have to be focused and motivated from the start to the end in order to have any chance of winning against Nadal," he said during the same press conference.

Despite acknowledging his extensive experience of facing the Spaniard on clay, the Serb highlighted the challenge of pulling off the win over Nadal.

"I know. I played him so many times on I clay. I know what I need to do. Of course, it's easier said than done. But we can expect a good match," he added.

Djokovic eventually triumphed in the final, clinching his maiden Monte-Carlo Masters title by defeating Nadal 6-2, 7-6(1) and ending the Spaniard's 46-match win streak at the tournament.

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