The Spaniard is hoping he has the game to dominate the clay court season in the same manner as previous year when, 12 months ago, he went on to win a 10th Barcelona title then completed La Decima at Rolland Garros. He needs to win the tournament or Roger Federer will reclaim top ranking in their seemingly endless fight for supremacy.
He was playing close to his best tennis despite calling for a medical timeout for his troublesome wrist.
He opens with a bye and then either Pablo Cuevas or Fernando Verdasco - both are inconsistent these days - before a potential round three with Milos Raonic, another player whose level is tough to judge on clay now.
Federer said that he will not play on clay this year - just like he did in 2017 - after suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Thanasi Kokkinakis in his Miami Open opener last month.
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Federer missed the whole season last year and was able to finish the year with two Grand Slam crowns and back at No. 2 in the world.
Djokovic's start of the season was disrupted by an elbow surgery, and has since suffered defeats in consecutive opening matches at Indian Wells and Miami.
Nadal's victory at Monte Carlo past year made him the first men's tennis player in the Open era to win the same title 10 times. His display against world number four Alexander Zverev was particularly impressive, winning 6-1 6-4 6-4. "I mean, I (have) played probably six, seven matches since Wimbledon past year", said Djokovic, who next faces Borna Coric of Croatia. Nadal is one of the slowest top-ranked players, and was docked a first serve for taking too much time during a match en route to his 10th French Open triumph past year.
"It's not great but first match on clay, you know, I'm expecting little soreness", Nishikori said.
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"I love this event and the weather has been good".
This will not be the first implementation of a shot clock in tennis, as it was trialled during US Open qualifying a year ago as well as the 2017 NextGen Finals in Milan and the Exhibition International Premier Tennis League.
Nadal though is not willing to think too far ahead as he revealed Sunday, April 15, that his aim is to complete the tournament in Monte Carlo.
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According to KGI Securities , the trump card of the Note 9 will however be the in display, fingerprint scanner on the Note 9 . Earlier, Ming Chi Kuo, the analyst at KGI Securities, stated that the Note 9 would come with a design similar to the Note 8.