Since making his debut at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Rafael Nadal has gone on to win a record 11 titles at the ATP Masters 1000 event. With the tournament not taking place this week due to the coronavirus pandemic, here is a reminder of the three players outside of Nadal who managed to get their hands on the trophy over the past 15 years.
Novak Djokovic (2013 and 2015)
After losing three clay-court finals to Nadal in 2012, including the French Open, Djokovic reversed his fortune in the 2013 Monte Carlo championship clash. The Serbian attacked his rival’s second serve, winning 15 of 22 points to post a 6-2, 7-6 (1) victory after one hour and 52 minutes. As a result, Djokovic became the first player to defeat Nadal at the event, ending the Spaniard’s undefeated run of 46 matches. Two years later, Djokovic dismissed the left-hander, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals, ultimately adding a second crown with a three-set win over sixth seed Tomas Berdych.
Stan Wawrinka (2014)
Sandwiched in-between Djokovic’s pair of triumphs was this heavy-hitter. Having picked up his first major title earlier in the year at the Australian Open, Wawrinka capitalized on a slight opening when David Ferrer took out Nadal in the quarterfinals. The Swiss advanced to the final, where he found himself up against countryman Roger Federer. At the time, Federer had won 13 of 14 meetings, including 11 straight. Wawrinka’s lone success had come in Monte Carlo five years earlier, a result he replicated by rallying to win 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 for his first Masters 1000 trophy.
Fabio Fognini (2019)
His talent was always there, but the Italian had never managed to put it all together on a big stage. That all changed a year ago, though it nearly ended in a first-round exit when Andrey Rublev held a 6-4, 4-1 lead. Fognini found a way back and it ignited an inner fire: he ousted No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev and No. 9 seed Borna Coric, before cruising past Nadal, 6-4, 6-2, in a match the King Of Clay called one of the worst in his career. Fognini rose to the occasion once more with a 6-3, 6-4 final-round win over unseeded Dusan Lajovic.