Monte Carlo: Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who claimed his ninth Monte Carlo Masters title with his victory over Frenchman Gael Monfils, said he "needed" the victory to "confirm my positive feelings" about competing this year.
"I was waiting for such a victory. I think we have worked hard to regain positive feelings, feeling that we felt from beginning of the year, but we needed a victory to confirm," Nadal said in remarks after the final.
Rafael Nadal holds the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series trophy. Pic/ AFP
He won 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 over Monfils in a match that lasted more than three hours here on Sunday, reports Efe.
It was Nadal's first tournament victory this year, having won just three tournaments in the previous year, and his first Masters title in two years.
"Last year was a tough year," the fifth-ranked Nadal said. "The nerves that I had, I was anxious in the matches."
The Spaniard added he was sure his anxiety would disappear after his victory in Monte Carlo.
He said the title comes at the "perfect time" to coincide with the start of the clay court season.
"Now I try to follow the same path of work and, if possible, results too. I think the victory comes at a perfect time of the season," he said.
"Now I have three tournaments on clay that are important to me, two straight at home, in Barcelona and Madrid, then Rome. I hope to continue to do well," added Nadal.
It was his ninth win in Monte Carlo, the same number of victories he has had at the French Open.
Nadal is now on level with Serbian World No.1 Novak Djokovic, with both players counting a record-breaking 28 Masters titles each.
"The statistics will be counted at the end of my career," said the 29-year-old player, insisting he hasn't reached that end yet.