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Djokovic enjoying rivalry with Nadal

Monaco: Novak Djokovic looks to continue his recent dominance over arch-rival Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he beat the Spaniard in the final last year, and boost his confidence heading into the French Open.

“Winning this title last year in the final against Nadal was definitely one of the highlights of my career. I really love playing in this tournament,” Djokovic, who lives in Monaco for a part of the year, said on Sunday. “My family comes in big numbers during this week so it makes me feel very comfortable, and at home.”

The top-ranked Nadal’s last win against No. 2-ranked Djokovic was in the US Open final, but since then Nadal has lost three consecutive matches to his great rival in straight sets. Nadal leads him 22-18 on head-to-heads and has 62 career titles compared to 43 for Djokovic.

“We’re more or less the same generation. We’re still 27 and 26, so we still have lots of time in front of us,” said Djokovic, who is the younger player. “It’s a huge challenge, there’s no question about it... I do not exclude any other players, but the rivalry I had with him is the biggest one so far and I enjoy it.”

The three straight defeats hurt even more because Nadal was unable to force a tie-breaker in any of them.

“Sure it always affects (you) but I hope to (be) ready to be back and compete on clay,” Nadal said. “In Miami I didn’t play my best level in the final. I didn’t compete well enough.” (Agencies)