Sunglasses, beautiful girls in the stands, the lovely village of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and, of course, the neighbouring Principality. In tennis, the month of April is reserved for big tournaments and the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000 is no exception and, since 2005, there have been no exceptions. Nadal has a tyrannical grip on the tournament and you know that it's not going to stop this year when...
...You don't even remember who won this tournament before him.
...A record of 44 wins for a single defeat. Take that Lionel Messi!
...You search on Wikipedia the retirement year of the only person to have beaten him in the Principality. It was Guillermo Coria in 2009. Four years already...
...You are confident that "This year, it will be hard for him."
... In the press, before the tournament starts, you read the same headlines again and again over the years: "Rafa at the end of the line?", "The Prince Rafa could fall from his throne" or "The end of the road for Nadal?”
...Then a week later, the same newspaper headlines are: "Rafa, Prince of Monaco", "Eight for Nadal", "Nadal: Lord of the clay."
...Novak Djokovic is the bookie’s favourite.
...He will want show that he’s the one and only resident of Monaco.
...During the first match played by the Spaniard, you remember the difference between hard courts and clay courts
...Besides, it's been a while since you've last seen the ochre, and you had almost forgotten that Nadal wasn't playing the same sport as his opponents on this surface.
...On his return, he reached the final of the Vina del Mar tournament on one leg, before losing against Zeballos. Seriously… Zeballos at Vina del Mar, it reads like the screenplay of an episode of “Un, dos, tres".
...In 2007 you were thinking "never two without three." In 2010, you were thinking "never five without six."
...You clearly understood that Nadal could have played in Miami. He simply wanted to knock everyone down in Monte-Carlo
...You remember that in 2010, the Spaniard finished the tournament having lost only 14 games. And that is just average for him.
...Over time, you forgot that the topspin of the Spaniard made the yellow ball looks like a bouncing bomb.
...You realize that Nadal has earned €3,682,080 of his €51,482,037 career earnings in Monte-Carlo. Yeah, it's a little over 7%.
...You know that it is forbidden to overtake a car on the road in Monaco. And that Rafa is in the car in front.
...You like Nietzsche. "What does not kill you only makes you stronger" really means something to you.
...You have blisters, sore knees and your underwear sticks, but you will be just fine.
...You look at the calendar early in the season and saw Monte-Carlo from April 13th to April 21st…
...You know that after eight, it can only be nine.
...You look at your holiday photos in Monaco in 2005. Except that you’ve never been back since.
...You remember that he's only 26.
...You see that his left arm is still huge after an 8 months hiatus.
...The only intrigue of the tournament is whether Charlene will be there to give him the trophy.
...2013 + 26 years old + 8 months away - 4th place World = 9 victories. The calculus will be right on the 21st.
...You know that he sent his registration to the referee.
By Swann Borsellino and Jérémy Francisco