Takeaways from the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

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Takeaways from the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
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Federer and Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal's dominance at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters has come to an end. After an eight-year reign as champ, Nadal has now lost two years in a row.

Novak Djokovic ended the Rafa's run last year and, this time, it was his fellow Spaniard David Ferrer who took him down.

Stanislas Wawrinka built upon the best year of his career by breaking through for his first career ATP Masters 1000 title. 

Here are the takeaways from the week in Monte Carlo.

**All Stats Courtesy of atpworldtour.com 

 

Rafael Nadal Loses for the Second Year in a row

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Rafael Nadal

Nadal's dominance has been slipping. He lost here for the second year in a row and his edge over Djokovic in the rankings is narrowing.   

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His confidence in his current play is also dropping. According to the Associated Press (h/t SI.com), here is what he had to say after his loss to Ferrer, ''It was a tough loss, all losses feel bad but especially on clay, I'm not playing well right now and I'm not happy with how I'm playing."

Although he is not playing at the top of his game, Nadal is still the favorite to win at Roland Garros. Rafa still has plenty of time to find his game before then. 

There will be two more clay-court Masters events before the French to test his game against the best in the world. 

He is still the most feared player in the world on clay, and this one set back will not change that.

 

Novak Djokovic Falls to Federer, Hurts Wrist

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Novak Djokovic

Federer avenged his loss to Djokovic at Indian Wells by beating him here in the semifinals. However, Federer was not able to pick up is first title in Monte Carlo. He has now lost in the finals four times, but it was still a great showing from the Swiss. 

Djokovic came away from Monte Carlo with a wrist injury, but it is not as bad as Novak originally feared. 

According to bbc.com, Djokovic said this about the injury, "Fortunately, the situation with the injury is better than it first seemed. Doctors assured me that I will be ready for Madrid, then Rome and Roland Garros, just as it has been planned."

It appears the injury will be fully recovered with some rest and treatment for the next couple of weeks. He may be taped up upon his return, but it should not affect his play too much. 

He will be the top threat to take out Nadal at the French. 

 

Stanislas Wawrinka Wins First Masters 1000 Tournament

Wawrinka shot vs. Federer

Wawrinka's outstanding start to 2014 continued in Monte Carlo. Check out his phenomenal touch shot in the final above. He can now add his first Masters title to his first Grand Slam title in his trophy case. 

According to atpworldtour.com, here is what Wawrinka had to say after beating Federer:

"It's always special to play Roger. We know it's always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He's my best friend on the tour. We respect each other so much. I'm just trying on the court to win the match. Before and after, we are still very good friends. During the match, we just try everything to win. Today I'm really happy to take that one.

With the win, Wawrinka moved into first place in the Race to London. It might be time to start taking him more seriously as a potential threat to win these tournaments.

Although he does not have the past success of the top players, his season has placed him in the elite group.

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He is now 3-0 on the year against Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, all of whom dominated him historically. 

Wawrinka should be able to carry this momentum to the nest two Masters events and Roland Garros. He is playing at another level this year and clay has been his best surface throughout his career.

While Federer and Wawrinka are not the favorites to win the French Open, I would give them the best shot outside of Nadal and Djokovic.

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